Temple snaps historic skid with win against UTSA

Temple Men’s Basketball got over the hump Sunday afternoon, closing out UTSA late to earn an 83-77 win, its first in more than a month.

Steve Settle III scored 16 as Temple snaps their 10-game losing streak Sunday afternoon in the Liacouras Center. | LANDON STAFFORD / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple Men’s Basketball entered Sunday on a historic 10-game losing streak, one of the worst in the last 50 years. The Owls had played teams close but needed to put up results against UTSA, who sat above Temple at second-to-last in the American Athletic Conference.

The Owls were hanging by a thread, leading by just one point with five minutes to go. Suddenly, they broke through when guard Hysier Miller tossed a lob to guard Jahlil White, who slammed it home. Guard Jordan Riley forced a steal two possessions later and connected on a tough layup to put an exclamation point on Temple’s first win in more than a month.

Temple (9-17, 2-11 AAC) survived UTSA (8-18, 2-11 AAC) 83-77 at The Liacouras Center Sunday afternoon. Fans piled into the arena to celebrate Temple’s mascot Hooter’s birthday, and the Owls delivered the best gift: a record-breaking win to snap their 10-game skid.

 “I’m just so happy for our guys,” said Temple head coach Adam Fisher. “It’s a hard 40-something days to keep coming into work while you’re going through what we were going through and keep bringing the same energy to keep believing in what you’re doing.”

Temple’s offense has been inconsistent all season, and they continued to struggle against the Roadrunners. The Owls could not exploit the country’s worst scoring defense, which gives up 83 points per game. 

Temple shot just 37 percent from the field in the first half. After taking an early five-point lead, the team made just one of its next six shots, and UTSA capitalized with a 14-5 run with 10 minutes to go in the half.

Riley was the Owls’ main source of offense with nine points in the first half. They soared to a 12-4 run with five minutes to go in the half but went ice cold down the stretch, again making just one of its last six shots. The Roadrunners finished the period with a 13-3 run, including a 9-0 run in the final three minutes to go into the locker room up 41-34.

UTSA cooled off at the start of the second half, and Temple sprinted to a 10-3 run in the first four minutes to knot the game up at 44. Miller, who hit just three shots in the first half, sparked the offense and scored 13 of his 20 points after the intermission.

“The guys just believe in the work that we put in,” Miller said. “We knew we didn’t close the half out well, and we had a mental lapse where we let them get back in the game. We knew that we wanted to close this game out and what we had to do.”

Once Temple got the upper hand, the team had to keep UTSA at arm’s length. The Owls did so by holding the Roadrunners scoreless for four minutes of play and continuing to add to their lead. UTSA guard Jordan Ivy-Curry had 12 points in the first half, but the Roadrunners’ leading scorer was held to 33 percent shooting in the second.

UTSA pulled within three after going scoreless for nearly three minutes of play. Temple forward Steve Settle III capped off his 16-point afternoon with a triple with a minute left to put the game out of reach.

“We were trying to let the clock go a little bit,” Settle said. “Shane [Dezonie] penetrated, and played off too. We preach that in practice, and I was open. Matteo [Piccarelli] draws a lot of attention, and they went to him. I just knocked down the shot.”

Temple will have a week-long break before traveling to play Wichita State (10-16, 2-11 AAC) on Feb. 25 at 4 p.m.

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