There is more to Temple than meets the eye

Temple Men’s Basketball is in the midst of a historic 10-game losing streak, but the Owls have battled all season. What does this losing streak mean for the future of the program?

Temple Men's Basketball has had a rough start to head coach Adam Fisher's tenure, and is currently on its longest losing streak in nearly 50 years. | ROBERT JOSEPH CRUZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple Men’s Basketball had one of its most disappointing losses of the season on Jan. 20. The Owls fell to Rice —who had yet to win an American Athletic Conference game — after losing a five-point lead in the final six minutes in one of its most winnable conference play games. 

Temple hasn’t won a game since, with its last win against Wichita State on Jan. 7. The Owls are in the midst of a historic 10-game losing streak, the largest since the 1975-76 season’s 11 losses under former head coach Don Casey.

Things clearly aren’t great anytime a team loses 10 games in a row, and head coach Adam Fisher’s tenure seems off to a rough start from an outside perspective. However, a closer look at how the Owls are losing these games implies the team isn’t struggling as much as it may seem. 

“We’ve gotta figure out how to get over the hump, and we know that,” Fisher said. “There’s no moral victory for us. We’ve gotta figure it out.” 


Temple’s competitiveness has been evident throughout its losing streak, particularly in its recent games.

Five of Temple’s 10 losses during the streak have been by less than double digits. Even some of its double-digit losses were extremely competitive, including the Owls’ 92-80 overtime loss to Tulane on Feb. 4. They clawed their way back into the game to force overtime with the Green Wave but ran out of gas once they got there, getting outscored 16-4. 

These close games are proof the Owls can be a competitive team and should be confident in their ability to compete in the AAC moving forward. It’s even arguable that Temple could’ve won each of its last five games if they were able to close them out late. 

The Owls’ more definitive losses against Southern Methodist on Jan. 16 and No. 24 Florida Atlantic on Feb. 15 don’t tell the full story. They dug themselves into holes early but found ways to get back into both games. Somehow, Temple either led or came within one possession late in the second half of both games, putting themselves in a position to win against the odds.

“It’s a great league, right?” Fisher said. “We get down. We have to try and figure out how to stop them, but they’re good. [They’re] good players.”

When Temple lost to Charlotte on Feb. 11, the 49ers were a top-three team in the conference, and Temple took them the distance. The Owls tied the game multiple times throughout the second half, and guard Matteo Picarelli had a great look at a game-tying three to force overtime but missed the shot at the buzzer.

Similarly, the Owls went down by as many as 23 points against Memphis on Feb. 8, but they played their best second half of the streak and had a chance to win. The Owls attacked the rim, communicated on defense and almost completed the comeback.

“I’ve watched [Temple] play so many games,” said Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway. “They should’ve won five, six or seven more games by now because they’ve been close. They’ve always been in every game.”


Temple lost five of its top six leading scorers from last season. Any team struggles when it loses two or three of its top scorers, let alone five. They had two number-one options in guards Khalif Battle and Damian Dunn, and the team did not find anyone to fill that void, hurting them during their losing streak.

Instead, guard Hysier Miller went from the fifth option last season to the first option on offense. He has taken 39 more shots this season than his previous two seasons combined. 

While Miller hasn’t played great, a lot of his struggles have been emphasized by the lack of talent around him. He was thrust into an unfamiliar role and is expected to be a volume shooter despite the fact he can’t do it efficiently, ranking outside the top 350 players in the country. 

Fisher’s offensive philosophy is based around shooting the three-pointer as often as possible. Temple ranks 17th in the nation in three-point attempts per game, but they don’t have the talent to score at a high level. Temple ranks 341 out of 351 schools in the nation in effective field goal percentage, which accounts for a three-pointer being worth more than a two-point shot.


A postseason run may be out of the cards, but Temple has a chance to build a foundation for next year in its last six games. Five of the Owls’ six games are against the other bottom-five teams in the AAC: Wichita State on Feb. 25, Rice on Feb. 28, Tulsa on Mar. 2 and UTSA twice on Feb. 18 and on March 10.  

Temple has a chance to either snap its longest losing streak in nearly 50 years or tie it on Sunday against UTSA. The Roadrunners sit at 2-10 in conference play and are currently on a five game losing streak. 

Temple should use its final games to see what the team may have in potential building-block players. Guards Zion Stanford, Quante Berry and Shane Dezonie have a chance to put together good film for the offseason and create more chemistry on the floor.

The Owls were never expected to make a splash in Fisher’s first season. While no one wants to lose 10 games in a row, Temple’s fight against more talented teams could be a good sign for what’s to come, and the Owls should use the rest of the season to build on that momentum.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.