Temple Loses in Overtime to Vanderbilt Despite Dunn’s Career High

Written by: Jake Gabel

Photos by: Brian Mermelstein

PHILADELPHIA – Temple fell to Vanderbilt 89-87 in overtime. Damian Dunn did all he could, scoring a career-high 38 points, the most points in a single game by an Owl since David Hawkins scored 41 points in 2004.  

Despite Dunn’s effort, Temple lost its second game of the season. Both losses happened in overtime. 

“It hurts a lot,” Dunn said, “and especially when we thought we had momentum coming in today after our big win on Friday. It’s just up to us now on how we’re going to respond.” 

Tied at 76 heading into the overtime period, Vanderbilt jumped out to a five-point lead. Dunn hit a three then an and-one layup to take the lead 87-86 with 38 seconds left. Vanderbilt’s Erza Manjon hit a jumper with 22 seconds left to take the lead at 88-87. A free throw from Tyrin Lawrence made it 89-87. 

On the last possession of the game, the ball was inbounded to Hysier Miller, not Dunn. He found Hicks for what head coach Aaron McKie called a “botched play.” Hicks’ potential game-winning three was blocked by Vanderbilt’s Liam Robbins. 

Surprisingly absent for most of the second half, Khalif Battle played just 19 minutes and scored two points. McKie said after the game about Battle’s playing time, “I just played the guys I felt wanted to be out there.” 

McKie was visibly upset in the postgame press conference. He was disappointed in his team’s defensive effort. 

“The only thing we talked about was defense in the locker room,” McKie said. “And really the only thing we talked about at practices is the defensive side. I’m constantly going over with them, what I expect out of them. What I want from them. The first thing is always just communication. It can’t be one game on, one game off. It just can’t be that.”  

The Owls got off to a hot start, scoring on their first five possessions, and it was all led by Damian Dunn and Zach Hicks. It started with a Hicks offensive rebound that led to a Damian Dunn three. Hicks would then hit two three-pointers in a row from the same corner. Dunn scored the next two possessions with a floater and three free throws after being fouled from deep.

Zach Hicks hits a three over a Vanderbilt defender. He had 20 points, his season high.

Temple would sport a double-digit lead as early as six and a half minutes into the game, leading 22-11. Vanderbilt would storm right back however, scoring the next eight points to make it a 22-19 game with 10 minutes left in the first half. 

To start the second half tied at 37, Vanderbilt took their first lead of the game with a pick-and-roll and slam dunk from Quentin Millora-Brown on the first possession. Vanderbilt would lead for the majority of the second half. 

Vanderbilt was led by Myles Stute’s 21 points and also helped by 20 points from Robbins off the bench and 18 points from Jordan Wright. 

Last season, Temple and Vanderbilt faced off in Tennessee. That game also went to overtime, but the Owls won. The head coaching rematch between Temple’s McKie and Vanderbilt’s Jerry Stackhouse is a unique one, as they were traded to one another in the NBA. McKie came to the Philadelphia 76ers; Stackhouse went to the Detroit Pistons.

Temple falls to 1-2 on the season with a thunderous upset win against #16 Villanova sandwiched between two overtime heartbreakers. The Owls’ next game is against 3-0 Rutgers at a neutral site, Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut for the Hall of Fame Game. 


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