February 24, 2021 –
The Temple Owls ended a six-game losing streak that saw many close losses including a home loss to USF last Sunday. Turnovers proved to be a prime culprit in the losses. The clean up process began at the University of South Florida where Temple had 10 miscues. Also, the Owls did not give up a large disparity of shots. The result this time was a 65 – 47 win over the USF Bulls.
During the losing streak there were mistakes, but there is some improvement being shown as the new players get to know one another. Five first year players saw game action at USF. The young Owls got game situations to learn from, and that should be beneficial in the future.
“We’re learning how to win,” said Temple Coach Aaron McKie. “It’s not easy especially when you are playing a lot of young guys. We’re asking a lot of young guys to do a lot big things for us. It’s going to take a lot of experience, but they’re gaining it, and they’re comfortable with it. I’m excited when you get a win. The feeling is good. We’re learning from our losses. We’re building and getting better.”
The offense was being created from the defense as Temple forced 17 USF misplays on the way to a 19 – 8 advantage in points off turnovers.
Khalif Battle led the way for the Cherry and White scoring 22 points making 9 of 16 field goals and 3 of 7 from beyond the arc and added 6 rebounds and 4 assists. He started quickly and that allowed the Owls to play from ahead. Battle connected on a three-pointer at the 13:31 mark of the first half to give his team a 14 – 12 lead. It was the start of a 7-point run for the Owls. The game was knotted before the Cherry and White opened a 34 – 30 lead at halftime.
In the second half it was play defense and put Temple in a solid winning position. That was the aim of the team coming out after halftime for a simple reason.
“Wanting to win, the will to win,” said Battle. “In the locker room at halftime we kept our focus and said it’s not over. We wanted to come out ready to play and win the first five minutes. Then it was getting three stops in a row. Once we did that it was let’s get the victory.”
The Owls went on a 14 – 4 charge that lasted over six minutes. A layup by David Collins broke the streak, then Temple held USF scoreless for another five and a half minutes. When Justin Brown hit a three-pointer 5:42 showed in the clock and the Owls were ahead 58 – 39. The game was under control. The Owls totaled 8 steals.
In addition to the offensive contributions of Battle, Jeremiah Williams and De’Vondre Perry scored 11 points each. J.P. Moorman II scored 10 points and also added 6 rebounds. Damian Dunn did not play.
Brown led the Bulls with 16 points sinking a game-high 4 made three-pointers. He grabbed 6 boards. Collins scored 13 points.
The Cherry and White up their record to 5 – 10 overall and 4 – 10 in the American. The team faces UCF next and will stay in Florida for the Saturday game. It will be an interesting double-header as both the Temple men’s and women’s team play their UCF counterparts that day.
For the men’s team the idea is to make the USF win a stepping stone for the future.
“That’s the plan, keep getting better,” McKie said.
Written By: Glenn Papazian