Just like the previous two games, Temple could not play a consistent 40 minutes, falling to Clemson 72-58 in the first round of the Charleston Classic.
Junior guard Will Cummings paced the Owls (1-3, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) with 22 points, while sophomore guard Quenton DeCosey had 15. The Tigers (4-0, 0-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) were led by junior forward K.J. McDaniels, who had 20 points.
The game started off fairly evenly, with senior guard Dalton Pepper scoring Temple’s first five points. The game was tied at seven points apiece before Clemson scored five straight. Temple answered with an 11-4 run, putting the Owls up 18-16. Eight of the points in that run were scored by Cummings.
Clemson tied it up on the next possession, but Temple then went on a 14-2 run to make the score 32-20. DeCosey scored all 12 of his first half points in this run. The Tigers broke their scoring drought by scoring six straight points to make the score 32-26 with 1:40 to go in the half. Clemson cut the lead more, bringing the score to 34-31 Temple when junior guard Rod Hall drove in for a layup just before time expired.
The Tigers took a lead within three minutes of the second half. This was the first of three straight lead changes going into the first media timeout of the second half, as the teams were within one point of each other. Clemson then started to pull away, scoring four straight, but Temple pulled back within two after hitting free throws. Cummings hit a three on the next possession to put the Owls up 44-43.
The teams then went back and forth on the next few possessions, keeping the game within one possession until a timeout with 7:31 to go, when Clemson was winning 53-51. The Owls didn’t take another lead for the rest of the game, falling behind by fourteen, the largest deficit of the game, as it ended.
Temple will take on Georgia on Friday at 9:30 p.m. Georgia lost to Davidson 94-82 earlier on Thursday.
Evan Cross can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @EvanCross.