Temple snaps losing streak in win against Portland

Despite poor offense, Temple Men’s Basketball secured a 55-54 win against Portland in the final seconds Sunday and finished seventh in the Diamond Head Classic.

Steve Settle III's 16 points led the Owls as they snapped their three-game losing streak against Portland. | NOEL CHACKO / THE TEMPLE NEWS

After losing three straight games and being relegated to the seventh-place game, Temple Men’s Basketball came into Sunday looking for its first win in the Diamond Head Classic.

The Owls struggled to shoot the ball throughout the contest, but Portland did not fare much better. Temple’s defense did just enough to lock down Portland’s shooters in the final minutes as the Owls got back in the win column in Hawaii.

Temple (7-6, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) defeated Portland (6-9, 0-0 West Coast Conference) 55-54 on Sunday afternoon at the SimpliFi Arena in Honolulu. The Owls finished seventh in their first-ever appearance at the Diamond Head Classic. 

Both teams started the game slowly, as the Owls shot 1-10 from the field in the opening minutes compared to the Pilots’ 1-7. Neither team hit double-figure points until the nine-minute mark in the first half, as Temple forward Steve Settle III’s three gave the Owls a 12-9 lead.

Temple gave up its lead with 15 minutes left in the second half and trailed by eight points with less than seven minutes remaining. Then, the Owls went on an 8-0 run to take a two-point lead with two minutes to go. 

However, the lead did not last long, as Portland guard Juan Sebastian Gorosito’s three-pointer took a 54-53 lead with about one minute remaining.

The Owls called timeout down one with nine seconds left, and guard Hysier Miller knocked down two free throws on the ensuing play to take a lead with five seconds left to play. Temple stopped Portland on the next possession and escaped with a 55-54 win. 

Portland guard Tyler Harris played a solid first half, leading the Pilots with 11 points and five rebounds to end the frame. Harris had just three more points and two more rebounds through the rest of the game.

Temple tried to rely on a balanced offensive attack with guard Jahlil White out with an injury, and Settle took advantage. He led all Temple scorers with 16 points on 6-15 shooting, including 2-7 from three, and six rebounds. 

Guard Jordan Riley added nine points in the first half and 14 total in his second game since returning from an illness. Miller had a quiet performance after picking up two fouls in the first half, but he delivered down the stretch when the Owls needed him. 

The Owls wrapped up their non-conference schedule above .500 and will play their first AAC game against South Florida (6-4, 0-0 AAC) on Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. in Tampa, Florida.

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