Temple Owls Basketball: Sloppy Play Dooms the Owls


The Temple Owls [10-9, 1-5 AAC] came into today’s game looking to halt the Tulsa Golden Hurricane’s [9-7, 3-1 AAC] momentum after their win over Memphis.

The Golden Hurricane were able to improve to 3-1 in conference play with a 70-68 win over the Temple Owls. They got the better of the Owls in a pretty sloppy game. Mistakes at the end of the game cost the Owls what would have been a much-needed win and will now take them to 1-5 in the American Athletic Conference.

Tulsa and the Temple Owls came into this one pretty evenly matched even though the records don’t show it. They’ve had their ups and downs leading them both to disappointing records to start the season. Temple Entered this one looking to bounce back from their loss to UConn while Tulsa are riding high on confidence following a convincing win against Memphis.

The game started off pretty slowly with both teams missing multiple shots but the Owls would draw first blood. Things got a little sloppy for the Owls with Alani Moore getting his pocket picked to put the Golden Hurricane up early. The two teams would continue to battle back and forth as Tulsa took an early 19-17 lead with ten minutes left in the first.

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The bout stayed close for most of the half as bad transition defense by the Temple Owls let Tulsa get easy buckets off misses and turnovers. Temple went into the half down three with a 37-34 scoreline thanks to 11 points from Pat Birt. Temple was led at the half by Daniel Dingle who had nine points and added six rebounds as well. A lot had to change going into the second half for the Owls to regain control of this one.

It looked like it would out the gate as the Temple Owls as they went an 11-2 run to begin the second half. This put Temple up five on Tulsa and it looked like the Owls would be rolling. Tulsa responded by shifting their defense to a 1-3-1 zone which threw the Temple Owls off while in possession.

Shizz Alston was the only member of the Owls that was unaffected by the zone as he took over the second half. Defensively, Temple’s 2-3 zone was unable to stop the Golden Hurricane from driving to the rim either as they scored 32 of their points in the paint. Some of this was due to foul trouble causing Temple to go small but the Owls have to defend better as a team. They haven’t played a good defensive game since their loss to the Bearcats and that is a worrying trend as the Owls get deeper into conference play.

In his post-game presser, Coach Dunphy was asked about the defense and responded saying,

"“today specifically I thought that they just drove it to the rim on us, a lot of straight line drives and we didn’t do a good job of keeping people in front of us. I thought that we did a good job early and that we did a decent job in the second half until the last eight minutes defensively in the second half. I thought that we had solved some issues but it unraveled in the end and cost us.”"

Alston led all scorers with 25 points for the Owls while sinking five threes. He also added four rebounds and got two steals. Junior Etou was the leading scorer for the Golden Hurricane with 15 points. he added nine rebounds and four assists of his own.

Tulsa shot 52 percent from the field in the game, a number that needs to come down if the Owls are to win more of these close matchups. Alani Moore is one guy in particular that needs to step up. Even though he’s a freshman most of the Temple offense comes through him so they can’t afford turn the ball over due to him making ill-advised drives.

Temple didn’t score for the final 4.5 min allowing Tulsa to tie the game at 68 with 14 seconds left. Temple got away from their zone at that point and Sterling Taplin had a driving layup with 2 seconds left to put Tulsa up two. Shizz Alston took a three at the end of the game that came up short sealing the win for Tulsa.  when Alston was asked about his final shot he said, “I just try to get to a spot and shoot. I thought that if I got to a spot and shoot it’ll go in.”

Next: The Bench Paces the Owls to Victory

Next up for the Owls is a trip to Cincinnati to face the Bearcats on Wednesday. Hopefully, they can make up for their home loss to them but it’s tough to see this team taking down the top team in the AAC. Stranger things have happened but if the Temple Owls want to make the postseason, they need to turn their season around, fast.