PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/22/2020 – For the Temple Owls to start climbing in the standings of the American Athletic Conference a win over the Cincinnati Bearcats was imperative. The Owls had not beaten the Bearcats in the last five tries. Make it six as the Bearcats get a hotly contested 89 – 82 win at the Liacouras Center. Cincinnati guard and AAC preseason Player of the Year Jarron Cumberland scored 14 of the last 16 points for his team, sinking 10 consecutive from the foul line.
“We were battling with those guys, then two plays in the guts of the game really cost us and they got separation,” said Temple Coach Aaron McKie. “Then he (Jarron) made the free throws and that was the difference in the game.”
It mattered to both teams and they played like it. The leading scorer for each team led their team in scoring and assists; 22 and 6 for Cumberland and Quinton Rose tallied 26, a season-high, for Temple while handing out 3 assists.
From the 9:30 mark until there was 45 seconds left both the Bearcats and the Owls were within one possession of each other. Cincinnati stayed in front with Jaevin Cumberland connecting on three straight three-pointers. He finished with 15 points.
Then, at the 4:04 mark they started over tied at 71. The Cherry and White took a one-point lead on a free throw by J.P. Moorman with 2:44 to play. After Tre Scott gave the lead back to the Bearcats it was the time of the game where Jarron Cumberland took over. He had a run of 8 points that Owls center Ed Forrester interrupted with a basket cutting the lead to 77 – 74. Cumberland answered with 2 free throws. A critical turnover by Temple gave the ball back to Cincinnati and 2 more Cumberland foul shots. The ball needed to be in his hands.
“We were going to keep it in his hands as much as we could,” said Cincinnati Coach John Brannen. “He is our point guard so that made it easier. We wanted him to make the decision, an assist, a shot, whatever it was he would make the decision.”
Nate Pierre-Louis, who had 22 points, brought the Owls to within 4 on a three-point play at 81 – 77. Temple pressured, but Cincinnati center Chris Vogt was left unguarded under the basket. Hid dunk essentially ended the game. Vogt scored 18 points.
Five Bearcats scored in double figures. Scott had 16 points and 11 rebounds recording his 6th double-double of the season and Keith Williams put in 10.
Aloni Moore scored 14 points making 4 from beyond the arc.
Cincinnati (12 – 7, 5 – 2) came into the game a half-game behind AAC leaders Houston and Tulsa, and percentage points behind third-place Memphis. Temple was tied for 8th place. The Bearcats stay in contention while the Owls slip a little further behind.
Temple (10 – 8, 2 – 5) faces Penn in a Big Five game on Saturday. They are looking for a city win and another chance to play better.
“We have to be more consistent with the way we play,” McKie said. “It can’t be a roller coaster ride for us where one day we are really good offensively and the next day we are not that great. We have to find some middle ground.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian