With three minutes and 10 seconds left in the game, junior forward De’Vondre Perry missed a three-point shot that would have put Temple University men’s basketball within 11 points.
Perry’s shot was one of many missed opportunities by Temple (14-16, 6-11 The American Athletic Conference) as it lost 61-51 to Tulsa (21-9, 13-4 The AAC) Wednesday night at the Liacouras Center.
The Owls finished the game shooting 29.8 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from the three-point line.
Temple led 13-7 with 11 minutes and 49 seconds left in the first half but Tulsa went on a 24-11 run to end the half. Tulsa was up 31-24 heading into the locker room and never relinquished its lead.
Despite winning by 10 points, the Golden Hurricane only made six of its 23 three-point shots, which translates to a 26.1 percent clip. The Golden Hurricane got a lot of its points by attacking the basket instead of focusing on outside shooting. Due to this, Tulsa had a much better field goal percentage than Temple at 39.6 percent.
“I thought we were flat,” coach Aaron McKie said. “I’ve been saying that all year. A lot of that comes from the offensive side of the floor. We shouldn’t think like that. We gotta reverse our thought process. When the ball is not going into the hole for us on the offensive side, we lose our focus on the defensive side.”
Golden Hurricane senior forward Martins Igbanu led all scorers with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field. Igbanu also converted on five of his six free-throw attempts and recorded four rebounds.
Junior guard Brandon Rachal added 13 points and 10 rebounds to record a double-double. Igbanu and Rachal were Tulsa’s only scorers in double digits.
For Temple, senior guard Quinton Rose led with 15 points but shot 4-of-14 from the field and 2-of-8 from beyond the arc. Rose also recorded seven rebounds and four assists. Rose was the only Temple player who scored in double digits.
Senior center Damion Moore was the Owls’ second-highest scorer with nine points. He was one point short of a double-double as he recorded 10 rebounds, which tied a career-high. Moore also recorded four blocks, which was another career-high. Moore scored six of Temple’s first eight points.
“[Moore] really gave us a great shot in the arm to start the game off,” McKie said. “He was a force inside in the interior, so he got us off to a good start.”
Junior guard Nate Pierre-Louis only scored four points but recorded a team-high 12 rebounds. Rose, Moore and Pierre-Louis grabbed 29 of the 40 Owls’ rebounds.
Temple also honored its five seniors, Rose, Moore, guards Alani Moore II and Anto Keshgegian and forward Tim Waddington, for its Senior Night. Alani Moore recorded three points on 1-of-7 shooting from the field. Waddington and Keshgegian entered the game with 15 seconds left. Waddington recorded one point on a free throw while Keshgegian recorded an offensive rebound that led to Igbanu fouling Waddington.
“We spend a lot of time with these guys and at the end of the day for me as a coach, you judge wins and losses, McKie said. “But just the behind-the-scenes stuff and talking to those guys about their hopes and their dreams and what they want to do in life, that’s important to me. It’s important to me watching these guys graduating and just watching them grow from young men to men and just evolve.”
While Temple played its last home game of the season, it will finish its regular season on Saturday at Cincinnati (19-10, 12-5 The AAC) at 8 p.m. After that, the Owls will play at least one more game on March 12 in the first round of the American Athletic Conference tournament in Fort Worth, Texas.
Even though Temple has at least two games left on its schedule, Damion Moore felt the emotions of playing his last home game.
“Before the game, I didn’t think about it til the last moments of the game,” Moore said. “It just felt like I’m gonna miss it, miss my teammates, miss being out there at the Liacouras Center.”