BROOKLYN, New York – With just more than four minutes remaining in the second half, Owls’ sophomore guard Hysier Miller dribbled up the court and tried to force a pass into the post but Spiders’ graduate student guard Andre Gustavson came up with a steal.
Seconds later, Spiders’ redshirt freshman guard Jason Nelson converted on a driving fastbreak layup to give Richmond a 55-41 lead.
Temple Men’s Basketball (2-4, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) lost to the University of Richmond (3-3, 0-0 Atlantic 10 Conference) 61-49 on Tuesday night in the consolation game of the Empire Classic at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. After labeling themselves as “tournament or bust” during the offseason, the Owls have likely squandered their chances of receiving an at-large bid to qualify for the NCAA tournament.
The Owls, who committed a season-high 21 turnovers in last night’s 78-72 loss to St. John’s University, had an equally uninspiring performance against the Spiders, finishing with 16 turnovers and failing to show any care for ball security. Later in the first half, Temple turned the ball over on eight consecutive possessions which led to the Owls being on the wrong side of a 15-0 run.
“We were just hurting ourselves,” said redshirt sophomore Khalif Battle. “We’re just gonna watch the film, we definitely gotta turn the ball over less because I think we hurt ourselves in the first half.”
The Spiders also successfully neutralized Owls’ sophomore forward Jamille Reynolds, giving Temple no one to turn to for points in the low post. Reynolds attempted just one shot throughout his 18 minutes on the floor.
In both of the Owls’ wins so far this season, Reynolds played a big role, scoring 17 points against Vanderbilt University and recording his first career double-double against Villanova University.
Similar to their first five games, the Owls began the night with a sizable lead, outscoring the Spiders 16-7 in the first 11 minutes. In his first start of the season, Battle scored all eight of the Owls’ first eight points, with six coming from three-point range.
Despite the hot start, the final minutes of halves continued to be the Owls’ downfall. Temple closed out the final eight minutes of the first half by scoring just five points.
Redshirt sophomore Damian Dunn spent just six minutes on the floor in the first half and didn’t score his first point of the game nearly halfway into the second half. In yesterday’s loss, Dunn scored only 11 points.
“He’s been playing basketball for a long time so he’ll figure it out,” said head coach Aaron McKie. “We need him out there, we need his leadership and we need him on the offensive side, the defensive side and he is one of our playmakers so we’ll work through that.”
The Owls have now lost back-to-back games for the first time this season and if they can’t make adjustments soon, things could quickly spiral for a team that was projected by many to play deep into March.
“We’re gonna have to work our tails off,” McKie said. “It’s more mental to me than it is the physical aspect so we have to get right mentally, there’s too much up and down and we need more consistency.”
Temple will look to turn their season around when they return to The Liacouras Center to play City 6 rival Drexel University (3-2, 0-0 Colonial Athletic Association) on Nov. 27 at 2 p.m.
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