Shots Did Not Fall for Temple In American Opener Loss

The Owls Shot 27% in 65 – 48 Loss to UCF in American Opener

December 15, 2021 –

The temperature outside of the Liacouras Center was mild. Inside the shooting by the Temple Owls was downright cold. Temple made 15 of 56 from the floor and only 3 of 30 three-pointers. In the curtain raiser for The American the Owls shots did not fall but the team does 65 – 48 to the UCF Knights.

“You’ve got to score points to win,” said Temple Coach Aaron McKie. “were not doing that. Our guys are not playing with the confidence that I know they play with. I’ve seen it. We got to try to find some way where we’re confident enough, swinging the ball, and knocking down shots.”

It was evident in the first half that it was going to be a tough night offensively for the Cherry and White. Only 7 of 29 shots dropped, and only 1 of 14 three-point attempts. However, things were not much better for the Knights who converted 6 of 31 and only a single three out of 9 tries. At the first media time out Temple made 1 of their first 7 shots, while UCF was good on 2 of their first 9. Temple was the first team to break double digits when Jake Forrester made a layup with 8:48 remaining in the half. And the Owls led 19 – 18 at halftime.

“That’s a good experienced team,” McKie said about UCF. “I knew the lid would come off the basket for them at some point, but it came off for those guys, but not for us. Their experience carried them. They have guys that have been there before, played in those situations, and they kept their poise. And we didn’t.”

The experience of UCF showed at the start of the second half. The Knights began the second twenty minutes with 16 – 3 run to take a 34 – 22 lead with just over 15 minutes left to play. Darin Green, Jr. scored 8 points in the run. He finished with 17 points. Brandon Mahan added 5 of his game-high 18 points in that five minute stretch.

Temple began to climb back and a basket by Jeremiah Williams cut the deficit to single digits as just over four and a half minutes showed on the clock. Then at the 4:11 mark Tyem Freeman scored on a layup. He was fouled by Williams, and was ruled a intentional foul. Williams was assessed a technical foul for his reaction. UCF sank four consecutive foul shots along with the basket to take a 55 – 40 lead. Game over at that point.

“The referee, it was his decision to make the technical call,” said Williams. “I got to be better being one of the leaders on the team. So, that’s definitely my fault.”

The timing was crucial and was the second consecutive game where a technical foul stunted an Owls rally.

“It brought me back to the Saint Joe’s game where we were making a run, and a foul happens,” McKie said. “It’s a tech (technical foul). I thought it was life coming back into the building and life coming back into the team. And the tech happened on Jeremiah, and that was pretty much it. They got four free throws and the ball back.”

Freeman contributed 14 points for the Knights. C.J. Walker pulled down 12 rebounds. UCF improves to 7 – 2 and 1 – 0 in conference.

Williams scored a team-high 11 points. Damian Dunn scored 10 points. The Owls drop to 6 – 5, 0 – 1 in the league. Temple needs to solve the offensive woes.

“Everyone individually has to go back to the drawing board, and just figure it out,” Williams said. “There’s no secret formula, go to the gym and work on it, and put out our best every day.”

The next game will be on Saturday at home when they face Drexel.


Written By: Glenn Papazian


Temple and UCF Tip Off American Athletic Conference Basketball

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