January 26, 2021 –
In a midweek matinee the Temple Owls turned in a victorious and at times impressive performance defeating the Golden Hurricane of Tulsa 76 – 67 at the Liacouras Center.
Khalif Battle, playing his third game in an Owls uniform, led the way with a career-high 22 points making 6 of 10 field goal attempts and 3 of 6 from three-point land. Battle also recorded a double-double pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds. He is regaining his flow as a player after a long layoff, and is cognizant that the game is more than scoring.
“I’m getting more comfortable as we continue practicing,” said Battle. “I still had two and a half months off from basketball. I’m putting in the overtime to get back to where I was in the summertime and when practice first started. The coaches and players been helping with that. I guess it helps the scoring. But I had five turnovers, so I have a lot to learn and a lot to get better at.”
Temple established themselves in the first half by shooting 51.6% from the floor and sank five three-pointers giving the team a 44 – 26 halftime advantage. It was their highest first half offensive output this season. The Owls kept that percentage consistent in the second half. The lead would grow to as many as 22 points with 9:34 to play.
“We were all being aggressive and confident,” said Owls forward De’Vondre Perry about the first half performance. “Against a zone sometimes you get stagnant holding the ball, but everybody was in attack mode, everybody was aggressive, and everybody was playing with confidence from the start.”
Coach Aaron McKie reminded the team that no lead was safe against Tulsa.
“One thing I said to our guys about this Tulsa team, they’re never out of games,” McKie said. “I’ve watched them win two, three games this year being down fifteen, being down twenty points at the half and fighting to get back in games. They’re a tough-minded group. They battle and they fight. We had to hold on tight with our seat belts on to bring this one home.”
The Golden Hurricane employed to a full court press and kept eroding the Owls lead. With less than a minute to play the Cherry and White held on to a 72 – 65 lead. Tulsa would get no closer as Temple converted four free throws to put the game away.
Perry scored 17 points converting 6 of his 7 field goal attempts. He was 7 of 8 from the free throw line. Guard Jeremiah Williams handed out a game-high 8 assists.
Rey Idowu led Tulsa (8 – 6, 5 – 4) with 20 points, a collegiate-best for him. Elijah Joiner scored 15 points.
Temple improves to 4 – 4 overall, 3 – 4 in the American.
Written By: Glenn Papazian