Owls Hurt by Turnovers, Drop Third-Place Game of Empire Classic to Richmond

Written by: Chris Duong

Photo by: Robin Hsiao

Temple Men’s Basketball (2-4) dropped the third-place game of the Empire Classic to the University of Richmond (3-3) 61-49 at the Barclays Center.

Richmond opened the game playing a full-court 2-1-2 defense, trying to force the Owls to turn the basketball over. The Spiders did just that, causing Temple to turn the ball over 16 times, 14 in the first half alone.

“We just hurt ourselves, honestly,” guard Khalif Battle said. “But like I said, we are going to watch the film. We definitely need to turn the ball over less in the first half.”

Making his first start of the season, Battle started off hot for the Owls, knocking down an early three pointer and a step-back jumpshot to give Temple an early lead. Battle finished the game with a game-high 26 points, including a career-high six three pointers.

The Spiders took advantage of Temple’s first half turnovers, going on a 20-5 run to close out the last eight minutes of the first half. The Owls did not score for 5:16 of action in that span, turning the ball over on eight straight possessions. 

“I thought it was more about us than it was about them,” Temple head coach Aaron McKie said about the team’s effort. “We were just running in mud. When you play these back-to-back games as a team that comes out and is ready to go and play with energy and effort, chances are the team that’s going to win the game, and wins come with that.” 

Temple was able to limit their turnovers in the second half, which allowed the Owls to set up in offensive sets. Sophomore guard Hysier Miller took more command of the floor for Temple, creating open shots for himself and Battle. Miller finished with 10 points and knocked down two three pointers. 

Richmond knocked down three straight three pointers midway through the second half, going on a 9-0 run which boosted the Spiders’ three-point shooting to 7-19 from the field. 

McKie called a timeout after redshirt-freshman guard Jason Nelson finished a fastbreak layup with 4:19 left in the game, propelling Richmond to a 22-5 run late in the second half.

Senior forward Tyler Burton scored 18 points, graduate guard Andre Gustavson tallied 12 points and Nelson added 13 points, giving the Spiders their first win over Temple since January 14, 2012. 

Junior forward Jamille Reynolds did not score a single point after a career high 21 points against St. Johns last night. Reynolds shot only one once from the field. 

Guard Damian Dunn, the team’s leading scorer for the season, only scored one point. 

“[Dunn] needs to stick with it, trust him, and believe in him,” McKie said. “I know he will figure it out. He has played basketball long enough for him to figure it out.”

The Owls return to action on Nov. 27 at the Liacouras Center against Drexel University (3-1)) at 2:00 pm.

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