Temple Owls Basketball: Owls Lose in the Waning Moments to Cincinnati

Dec 28, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Temple Owls guard Daniel Dingle (4) reacts after scoring during the first half against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Liacouras Center. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 28, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Temple Owls guard Daniel Dingle (4) reacts after scoring during the first half against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Liacouras Center. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

The Temple Owls took on the Cincinnati Bearcats to open conference play but sloppy play doomed them in a 50 – 56 loss.

The highly anticipated game between the Temple Owls (9-5, 0-1 AAC) and the number 23 Cincinnati Bearcats (11-2, 11-0 AAC) in the conference opener for each team got off to a less than stellar start. Both teams began the game on a sloppy note with both teams committing turnovers on each of their first two possessions but it was Cincinnati that grabbed the first points in this one.

The Bearcats started off by capitalizing on numerous temple mistakes to jump out to an early nine to nothing lead. Daniel Dingle broke the run for the Temple Owls by hitting one of two free throws. Once Temple got their first points of the game, things got a little better as the Owls broke off a 9-0 run of their own to tie things up early.

“I thought Temple played really hard tonight.” said Cincinnati coach, “but the key for us was that we got tougher as the game went on, we got more physical as the game went on and we hit our shot as the game went on. It was a tough one but that’s conference play for you.”

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The early run for the Owls was keyed by Ernest Aflakpui who crashed the offensive boards early with four points and six rebounds (three offensive) in the first 12 minutes of the game. He seemed like the only player who had the will to score in an overall sloppy first half for the Temple Owls. At the end of the half, the score was knotted at 26 for each team.

The Temple Owls were able to capitalize on Cincinnati’s turnovers by turning them into seven points but shooting 27.6 percent from the field isn’t good enough. Alani Moore II led the team with six points at the half but it also took him six shots to get there, not the greatest show of efficiency from the freshman.

The second half began the same as the first with it taking three minutes for Temple to convert their first field goal but this time they turned it into momentum. Shortly after tieing the game up, Obi Enechionyia slammed it home, igniting the Liacouras Center. Daniel Dingle morphed into the offensive leader for the team and got them off to an early four-point lead four minutes into the half.

When asked about his start to the second half, Dingle said, “[his aggressiveness was] something coach called for and me looking to get into the paint, get guys some shots.”

The Bearcats would answer with an 8-0 run of their own to take a 45-39 lead on the Owls with eight minutes remaining. They took advantage of Aflakpui sitting due to having four fouls by pounding it in the paint. The two teams traded runs but the Owls couldn’t capitalize on an off night by the Bearcats.

When asked about the impact that Ernest getting into foul trouble had on the team, coach Dunphy said,

“I think that and [Quinton] Rose going out hurt us because if I remember correctly, they had a six or eight point lead shortly after those two things happened” he then continued to say that it was just cramps that forced Rose out of the game but his hydration is becoming a concern for the team.

Temple pulled within two points with 20 seconds left thanks to missed Cincinnati free throws but Daniel Dingle’s pass was intercepted by the Bearcats to seal the win. This was an opportunity lost for the Owls as conference play began.

Next: Temple Survives Against NJIT

Daniel Dingle was the high scorer for the Temple Owls with 15 points on a 4-17 night from the field, his main production was from the foul line where he went six for nine. He’ll have to do better going forward but the most important man to the success of the Owls is Enechionyia. Obi started off the season on fire but lately he has been non-existent as teams have begun to key in on him.

Tonight had positives but the Temple Owls especially with their defense against the Bearcats. Temple had 18 turnovers tonight and moving forward that will be the biggest thing for them to work on moving forward.

Next up for the Owls will be a two-game road trip beginning with a game at UCF on December 31st at 4pm.