Temple crumbles down the stretch in home loss to South Florida

Photo: Mike Zingrone

Written by: Owen Boyle

Temple loses its third consecutive game to fall below .500 by a final score of 64-58 at the Liacouras Center during a Sunday matinee. 

In the Owl’s last three losses, Temple has had the lead with under five minutes left. Temple’s largest lead was seven, but it quickly disappeared thanks to a 17-4 run by USF to close out the game.

USF held Temple scoreless in the final 2:13 of the second period of play.  As a collective team, the Owls have failed to score a Field Goal in the final four minutes during their losing streak.

Nate Pierre-Louis was the standout for the Cherry and White. Pierre-Louis collected a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. The Plainfield, New Jersey native notched a career-high in assists with seven, while adding two blocks. 

The Bulls were led by Justin Brown who shot 44.4 percent from the field and made three 3-pointers. Brown also led USF with 9 boards. 

“Brown made two 3-pointers late in the game that changed the momentum,” Aaron McKie on what helped change the momentum after Temple got out to a seven-point lead. 

Temple went to the line just 12 times in today’s game. McKie was frustrated with the amount of times his team got to the free throw line:

“We only got to the line 12 times today, we need to be getting there more often, at least 20 times a game.”

The Owls did a good job to fight back after falling behind early. Temple trailed 13-5 just five minutes into the game. They got the game within a score, but never took the lead. The Owls went into the locker room down by eight. 

Temple made a strong start to the second half and found themselves in the lead with 11:49 remaining. USF battled back, chipping away at the Owl’s lead down the stretch. 

A costly Nate Pierre-Louis turnover changed the momentum of the game. With 3:44 left, Pierre-Louis turned the ball over to David Collins who proceeded to drive the basket and earn an And-1. This got the Bulls within one after Collins made the free throw. A Michael Durr layup gave the Bulls the lead and they never looked back. 

“The game changed after my turnover, that one was on me and I have to be better,” a disappointed Nate Pierre-Louis after another tough loss. 

Temple will host Tulsa this Wednesday in their final home game of the season. The Owls will celebrate senior night before taking on the Golden Hurricanes. The last match-up was one the Owls will want to forget, losing 70-44 in early January. Tip-off is at 7 PM from the Liacouras Center.   

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