The Temple Owls failed to win yet again, as they lost to the Houston Cougars 76-73 to put Temple at (7-6) on the year. So much for that great start, as Temple now drops to (0-2) on the season in AAC play. The clutch shots, the aggressive play, and the rebounding are keys in this three game losing streak and they were on display again tonight.
The Owls started out playing consistent basketball with a opening three-pointer by Quinton Rose. I thought, at the time, if Rose hit his first shot of the night on a three, that this was going to be a huge night for him, but I was wrong. Quinton Rose played well, but only ended the game with 14 points.
A bright spot for the Owls was their young freshman shining when needed most. Guard Nate Pierre-Louis and forward J.P. Moorman ll brought their aggression and high IQ into the game. Fran Dunphy has always been a guy to let his freshman grow into the offense as the season expands. This was the first game where they were played good minutes and were a key asset in the first half.
Nate Pierre-Louis had back-to-back clutch three-pointers to give the Owls a 29-26 lead with 6:19 left in the first half. He ended with 11 points and his efficientlcy rating was on the plus side. J.P. Moorman ll also contributed nicely with his own buckets from three in the first half. He ended the game with 9 points.
At the half???? pic.twitter.com/BfouSm0ZyG
— Temple Men's BBall (@TUMBBHoops) December 30, 2017
The game was back and fourth and at half the score was 36-32 Temple. The Owls closed out the half looking in good shape as Shizz Alston Jr made a jumper with time running out. The Owls looked like the team that did well in non-conference play, but in the second they went back to stagnant offense.
I am really starting to lose my patience with Obi Enechionyia, possible future NBA prospect. He went 3-13 from the field and 0-6 from deep which, according to the Temple staff, is his game. Other than the outing against Georgia, where he hit seven threes, he has not been a threat from deep range. He is a player who has lost his pose and identity. It is easy to see, as when he is giving the ball, even when there is a guard slightly near him he hesitates to shoot. If he does shoot, the ball does not go into the net. Also, if he tries to drive, he quickly kicks it back out to a guard.
Folks, I have no explanation for his lack of energy and aggression this year. If he can not produce, then Temple will continue this losing streak.
The second half was dreadful for the most part, as Houston went on a 11-0 run to grow the lead 52-40 with 12:47 left in the game. There are two reasons that Temple lost the lead.
First, they can have a stagnant offense. What I mean by that is they stand around the three point line till the shot clock hits 10 and then they start moving. The guards seem to not be on the same page and no one is willing to make a cut the hoop. Josh Brown, our veteran leader, is a key attribute to this issue, as he was not being a leader.
Second, we cannot get rebounds. The Cougars were able to recover 14 offensive boards. This led to either an easy lay up or a foul leading to free throws. This team has been like this all season. We do not have a big body that scares the other team’s forwards.
Somehow, Temple did make a comeback with three minutes left in the game. The lead was 70-59 and the Owls showed some fight and grit. The Owls went 4-4 from the line to cut the lead to seven. Then a clutch three by Shizz Alston Jr made it 70-66 with 48 seconds left. This was a great comeback with aggressive defense turning into points.
Quinton Rose made a layup after a free throw by Houston to make it 71-68 with 29 seconds left. After free throws made by Houston, Shizz Alston Jr hit another clutch three to make it 74-73 in the last few seconds.
Houston hit both the free throws and it all came down to the last possession. Shizz Alston Jr missed on a great look to end the game. It was a great comeback that the Owls can take into their next game.