Temple Loses Third-Straight, Falls to Memphis on the Road
Written by: RJ Franceschini
Photo by: Andrew Mayo
Temple men’s basketball (14-12, 8-5 American Athletic Conference) lost to a familiar foe on Super Bowl Sunday, falling to AAC-rival Memphis (19-6, 9-4 AAC) 86-77 in the FedEx Forum.
The Owls went to Memphis in search of a conference win and a chance at redemption. Temple lost a heartbreaker to Memphis Jan. 15, thanks to a buzzer-beating 17-foot baseline jumper from senior guard Kendric Davis.
The game became physical quickly as both teams put up a combined 11 fouls in the first half. However, Memphis was able to take control of Temple’s zone defense and hold the Owl’s offense by doubling ball handlers and full-court pressing. Temple had 11 turnovers as opposed to Memphis’ five.
By the end of the first half, Memphis guard DeAndre Williams had 17 points and six rebounds, completely controlling Temple’s defense and taking a 36-33 lead over the Owls.
Coming into the second half, the Tigers went on a 7-0 run within the first two minutes of the game. Davis started with only four points in the first half and would then finish with 21. He was also two points away from passing former Temple guard Quinton Rose in all-time scoring within the American Athletic Conference.
Memphis was able to control the boards, getting seven offensive rebounds and 11 defensive rebounds. The Tigers continued to dominate by forcing 16 turnovers out of Temple.
Guard Damian Dunn who averages 14.5 points a game, was only held to nine against Memphis and turned the ball over four times.
The Owls did not give up without a fight. Down 67-49, Temple went on a 12-0 run to bring the gap to just six points. Defensively, Temple switched back to zone after coming out of the half in a tight man coverage, similar to what Memphis was using.
Sophomore guard Khalif Battle helped lead the charge in the second half, shooting 62.5% from the field, and being a perfect 5/5 from the free throw line. Battle had 18 points in the second half and 25 points the entire game.
However, it would not be enough for Temple to get a lead for the rest of the game. Memphis scored 19 more points against the Owls.
The Owls will be back at The Liacouras Center against Wichita State on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.