For the second straight game, Temple held a double-digit lead in the second half.
And for the second straight game, the Owls squandered that lead.
Coming off a loss against Tulsa that saw Temple's six-game win streak snapped and senior guard
Will Cummings injured, the Owls were looking to rebound against former Sixers Coach Larry Brown and his SMU Mustangs.
The Owls would build a 13-point lead early in the second half, but would crumble down the stretch, as they failed to close out the game in a 60-55 loss to the Mustangs.
Temple and SMU would trade leads in the opening minutes of the contest, before Devin Coleman began to heat up, scoring eight straight points for the Owls to put them ahead 28-24 with 4:09 remaining in the first half.
The Owls would close the half strong, holding the Mustangs scoreless for more than five minutes before a last second SMU layup snapped Temple's 10-0 run and sent the Mustangs to the locker room down just 33-26.
After draining six shots from beyond the arc in the first half, the Owls would come out firing in the second half, hitting two threes to start the half and extend their lead to 39-26.
The Owls' long range shooting would fall off a cliff from there, however, as Temple failed to make a three for the remainder of the game.
With the Owls suddenly struggling on offense, the Mustangs would seize their opportunity, going on a 22-10 run to pull within one with five minutes remaining in the contest.
"Usually when our defense is set, we do a pretty good job. When they got up 13, they kind of put a little wrinkle in our high ball screen and we didn't play it very well after that," Brown said. "Then we scored. When you score you can get your defense set a little bit and I think we did a great job with that."
The Mustangs would continue to storm down the home stretch, taking a 52-51 lead before eventually handing the Owls a 60-55 loss.
"They're a good team," Temple Coach Fran Dunphy said. "Their defensive numbers are very good and they're a very efficient team as you see by their shooting percentage."
SMU was led in the win by Philadelphia native and former Villanova Wildcat Markus Kennedy, who scored 21 points on 9-for11 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds in front of a large contingent of his family and friends.
“He was great,” Larry Brown said of Kennedy. “I usually start guys when they come to their hometown, and he came to me before the game and said to me: 'coach, just keep things the way it is.' [Villanova Coach] Jay [Wright] gave him a talk yesterday. We went over to Villanova and Jay said to him: 'you know you’re coming back to Philly, the only thing that matters is winning, don’t worry about pleasing your friends or your family. Just help your team win.' And I think he certainly did that.”
Jesse Morgan would lead the Owls in the loss, scoring 15 points as he bounced back from a rough game against Tulsa.
Perhaps the difference maker in this one, Cummings was notably slowed for the Owls, as the senior guard was held to just one point in the game. Cummings, who ranks 12th in the nation in free throws made, appeared much less aggressive since suffering a strained muscle in his lower left leg, attempting just three shots and only making it to the free throw line on one occasion.
“I think he tried his best to give his maximum effort. He’s probably not going to be as explosive as he normally is,” Dunphy said. “I can’t imagine that he will practice tomorrow. Hopefully we'll get some minutes out of him on the practice court on Friday, but that will be up to the doctors and the trainers, and Will. I think he did a pretty good job on the defensive end.”
By: Kyle Babcock
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