Temple corrected each one of their major mistakes in recent play but still fell short to a long, athletic Cincinnati team 89-82 at home.
Turnovers and poor shooting have plagued the Owls for weeks but in Wednesday night’s loss they turned it over 11 times and shot 64.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Rose poured in a season high 26 points while Pierre-Louis hit a career high 22. It was the first time all season two Owls both scored 20-plus points in a single game.
Adding to the scoring outburst was Alani Moore II who has struggled from deep as of late but exploded for four 3’s in the loss.
Reigning AAC MVP and Cincy’s most prolific scorer, Jarron Cumberland walked off the court with 22 points at the final buzzer but that doesn’t tell the whole story. He was held to just one point in the first half while being guarded by Temple’s best on-ball defender, Nate Pierre-Louis.
“We realized [Jarron Cumberland] was going to have the ball in his hands a lot and we wanted to give him different looks but he did a wonderful job,” McKie said. “I knew they were going to try to find a way to get him going in the second half and how you get him going is him attacking and getting to the free throw line, that opens up everything else for his game.”
Cumberland was the difference-maker for the Bearcats down the stretch. Of his 22 total points, he scored 14 of them in the final two minutes and made the most of his time at the free-throw line getting 13 of 14 to fall.
Cincinnati big man Chris Vogt poured in 16 first half points and commanded the paint but was held scoreless until the final minute of the game.
“They made his catches a lot more difficult and made our entries more difficult but that opened up the floor for the other guys,” Cincinnati head coach John Brannen said. “We got other guys that can make plays and that helped.”
As Temple’s defense adjusted schematically to take him out of the game, the Bearcats looked to other options to put points on the board.
Cincinnati had more weapons that wreaked havoc for the Owls than vice versa making it difficult for Temple to match the intensity in crunch time.
The bright spot for the Owls came from a strong shooting performance and limiting turnovers, but an inability to finish out the game proved costly.
Dropping below .500 in conference play hurts Temple’s NCAA tournament resume before heading to the Palestra to take on Big 5 rival Penn.