Temple Edges Out South Florida in a Combined 35-Turnover Game, Stays Undefeated in Conference Play

Written by: Adrian Maghacot

Photo by: Temple Athletics

Despite committing 18 turnovers, Temple (9-7, 3-0 AAC) defeated South Florida (7-8, 0-2 AAC) 68-64 at the Yuengling Center Wednesday to stay undefeated in conference play.

With its third conference win, Temple will be one of two teams, alongside the winner between SMU and No. 2 Houston, to post an undefeated record against teams in the American.

“Temple is obviously playing well with the third win in the conference,” South Florida head coach Brian Gregory said. “That is a team that has beaten Villanova, Rutgers, who just beat the number one team in the country, VCU, East Carolina, and beat Cincinnati.”

Even though the Owls have struggled with protecting the ball in the past, this is the first time they committed at least 18 turnovers since the November 21st game against St. John’s. Most of which were attempts to get the ball into the paint.

South Florida did not fare much better as they had 17 turnovers of their own, including two from senior guard Serrel Smith Jr. 

While Temple and South Florida kept the game close, it was largely influenced by free throws as there were 38 personal fouls called with 17 called on the Owls and 21 on the Bulls.

The Owls took advantage of these fouls by sinking 23 of their 26 attempts, with redshirt sophomore guard Damian Dunn going 9-for-10.

“This was a pretty game and we were able to pull it out,” Temple head coach Aaron McKie said. “That’s one of the things I said to the guys about how important the free throw line is and your free throws.”

The entire game was back-and-forth as both teams tied 15 times and there were 11 total lead changes. The largest lead of the game was six points by South Florida in the first half and Temple late in the second.

Early in the first half, it was a struggle for both teams as the first field goal was not scored until the 15:45 mark after a three-pointer by redshirt sophomore guard Khalif Battle.

South Florida graduate guard and fourth-leading three-point shooter in the AAC Tyler Harris was limited to five minutes in the first half after receiving two fouls.

The Owls forced five straight turnovers and took advantage after going on a sixpoint run with 2:55 before halftime to lead 30-24. 

South Florida controlled the start of the second half by going on a seven-point run capped off with a massive dunk by junior center Russel Tchewa with less than 15 minutes in the game.

Battle, the leading three-point scorer in the conference, answered back with a shot beyond the arc with 9:13 on the clock to put the Owls back on top.

However, Temple sophomore guard Hysier Miller was then fouled twice with three minutes left on the clock and made all baskets to extend the lead to four.

With 15 seconds left on the clock and South Florida down by two, sophomore guard Selton Miguel attempted to take the ball away and fouled Dunn, who later made both free throws to finish off the game. 

Dunn led the team in points with 19 with Battle scoring 15. Sophomore forward Zach Hicks and sophomore guard Jahlil White each grabbed seven boards. 

Despite being a sharpshooter from beyond the arc, Hicks was not able to score any points. The last time this happened was against Saint Joseph’s on December 11, 2021.  

Tchewa finished with career-highs of 20 points and 12 rebounds, which gave him his second triple-double of the season. Freshman guard Ryan Conwell played a vital role in the turnover game after leading the team with four steals.

South Florida will stay home to face Wichita State (7-7, 0-2 AAC) at the Yuengling Center on Sunday, January 8 at 1:00 PM. 

Temple will return to Philadelphia and play Tulane (9-5, 2-1 AAC) at the Liacouras Center on Saturday, January 7 at 2:00 PM. 

Authors

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.