On Saturday afternoon, Temple University men’s basketball (6-4, 0-0 The American Athletic Conference) lost to Saint Joseph’s University (5-4, 0-0 The Atlantic 10 Conference) 68-49, the Owls’ lowest score this season with only 28.1 percent first half shooting.
“We just didn’t make shots,” said head coach Aaron McKie. “I thought we got some clean looks.”
Hawks’ sophomore forward Jordan Hall scored 26 points and had eight rebounds with five assists in 36 minutes of action. Hall also shot 53.3 percent from the field.
The Owls got off to a rough start, falling behind by 10 points within the first six minutes. McKie called two early timeouts as Hagan Arena got loud.
The Owls shot 31.3 percent from the field and made only two 3-pointers on 20 attempts. The Owls, who managed to out-shoot Vanderbilt University (5-4, 0-0 The Southeastern Conference) from beyond the arc, failed to convert once from three for most of the game.
On defense, the Owls’ miscommunication created easy scoring opportunities for the Hawks. Eight players got on the scoresheet for Saint Joseph’s, compared to Temple’s five.
The Hawks held Owls’ freshman guard Damian Dunn to 12 points, which forced Temple to find other scorers. Hawks’ junior guard Cameron Brown defended Dunn for most of the game, and Dunn received a technical foul after being frustrated due to Brown’s intense defense.
“Dunn is a great scorer,” said Saint Joseph’s head coach Billy Lange. “It took everybody to do it.”
Before this game, Dunn averaged 22.5 points per game since sophomore guard Khalif Battle suffered a season-ending foot injury.
Although Temple needed to rely on its physicality to match up against the Hawks’ size, the Owls failed to rotate on defense, creating open shots for Saint Joseph’s. The Owls were also out-rebounded 48-38, a rare occurrence for Temple so far this season.
Saint Joseph’s starting lineup featured 6-foot-7 inch Hall, 6-foot-8 inch redshirt-senior forward Taylor Funk and 6-foot-10 inch graduate student forward Ejike Obinna. Funk had 13 rebounds, while Obinna scored 14 points.
Freshman guard Jahlil White was a stand-out performer for Temple. White shot five of nine from the field and scored 11 points, while also securing six rebounds and playing tight defense all game.
But even with the positives, White shot one of seven from the free throw line, and the team shot seven of 18 from the line as a whole. The Hawks’ centers sat in the paint daring the Owls to drive, forcing the Owls to go to the free-throw line, where they left 11 points on the floor.
“We were a step slow today,” said Owls’ freshman guard Jeremiah Williams.
Williams was the Owls’ only player to record an assist, picking up four. The Hawks had 16 assists as a team.
If the Owls hope to win moving forward, they must find new shooters to rely on to stretch the floor and improve their free throw shooting. If they keep missing open shots, Temple is in for a long stretch once conference play arrives.
Temple will play the University of Central Florida (6-2, 0-0 The American) on Dec. 15 at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.
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