Temple grew their lead to as much as 10 midway through the half, but the Bulls came charging back, tying the contest at 23 on a monster dunk by John Egbunu. Things would remain tight for the rest of the first half, as the teams went to the locker rooms knotted at 34.
Lee and Dalton Pepper would lead Temple in the half, scoring 11 points each, while Quenton DeCosey added 10. The Owls suffered a loss in the first half however, as the team's leading scorer, Will Cummings, exited for the locker room with an injury.
"It's conclusion-like symptoms, so we'll have to see tomorrow," said Temple coach Fran Dunphy. "The way those things happen these days there is going to have to be a lot of baseline testing. If he can perform on Saturday, we'll see."
After grabbing a lead early in the second half, the Owls would lead just 54-52 with less than 12 minutes remaining before using a 12-4 run to open things up a bit and take a 66-56 lead. USF would respond with a 16-3 run of their own, taking a 72-69 lead on the Owls with 5:27 remaining, as a short-handed Temple began to look gassed.
"I don't think there's any question about the effort piece," Dunphy said. "That is always good. That has been there throughout the year. We've had these lapses in focus and that happened to hurt us tonight as well."
Looking exhausted, the Owls fell apart down the final stretch, as USF sunk a shot with under 30 seconds remaining to go ahead 79-74 and ice the game. The injury-depleted Owls would fall to 5-8 on the season and 0-3 in the AAC, as they lost by a final score of 82-75.
Anthony Lee led the Owls in the loss, finishing with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Quenton DeCosey added 20 points and Dalton Pepper 17.
"We don't really have many bodies. So it's a real tough challenge," said Lee. "We don't want to make any excuses, but it is tough."
Victor Rudd scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Bulls, as he recorded a double-double in the win.
"It's a good win for our team," said USF coach Stan Heath. "We had more bodies available. Toward the end of the game we had fresher legs out there."
Temple will return to action on Saturday when they welcome #24 Memphis at the Liacouras Center.
By: Kyle Babcock
Follow us on Twitter: @BroadStBeat