Temple sat from the outside looking in at ESPN Joe Lunardi’s bracketology at the beginning of this week.
The Owls didn’t help their cause to get back into ‘the bubble’ conversation on Wednesday night in Storrs, Connecticut. Temple (16-13, 8-9 American Athletic Conference) lost 72-66 to UConn (14-16, 7-10 The American) at Gampel Pavilion.
The Owls went into halftime with a 34-32 lead after they went on a 13-2 run with six minutes, 30 seconds left in the first half. Freshman forward J.P. Moorman II started the run with a layup off an assist from senior forward Obi Enechionyia.
But UConn came out in a rhythm offensively in the second half and Temple didn’t have answer. The Huskies started the second half on a 14-2 run, which featured junior guard Jalen Adams affecting the game in all facets. He had three points, two assists, two rebounds and a steal during UConn’s run.
After Moorman missed a 3-pointer, Adams grabbed the board and pushed the ball up the floor. He then found redshirt-junior guard-forward Terry Larrier, who hit a 3-pointer to extend UConn’s lead to 46-36.
Adams finished the contest with a game-high 25 points, eight assists and four rebounds. He shot 9-of-15 from the field and 55 percent on 3-pointers.
When Temple faced the Huskies on Jan. 28 at the Liacouras Center, the Owls held Adams to seven points on 2-of-10 shooting. He surpassed his previous scoring total at the 11:03 mark in the first half.
During UConn’s run at the start of the second half, the Owls only scored one field goal. Sophomore guard Quinton Rose’s layup was Temple’s lone bucket in the first 7:39 of the half. Junior center Ernest Aflakpui also missed two free throws over that duration. The Owls opened up the second half shooting 1-for-9 from the field.
Enechionyia broke Temple’s scoring drought with a jumper from the wing midway through the second half. Enechionyia led all Temple players in scoring with 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting. He also corralled eight rebounds and dished two assists.
Temple clawed back at UConn’s lead late in the second half. The Owls went on a 14-5 run that ended with a 3-pointer by junior guard Shizz Alston Jr. The trey gave Temple a 54-53 lead with 4:55 left.
But after Alston hit that 3-pointer to give the Owls a lead, they missed their next seven threes. Temple finished the game 6-for-31 on 3-pointers against the Huskies. The mark is Temple’s fourth worst 3-point percentage in a game this season.
Alston went 3-for-10 from beyond the arc and finished with 13 points. Rose went 1-for-9 on 3-pointers and scored 11 points. He also only shot 25 percent from the field.
Freshman forward De’Vondre Perry returned to action after missing Sunday’s game against Central Florida with a sprained ankle. He had five points, four rebounds, one assist and one block in 11 minutes.
Temple will finish the regular season against Tulsa on Sunday in Oklahoma at 2 p.m. The Owls beat the Golden Hurricane 59-58 on Jan. 17 at the Liacouras Center earlier in the season.