The 12th Ranked Houston Cougars Get a 66 – 61 Win Over the Temple Owls
January 2, 2022 –
The nationally ranked Houston Cougars came to the Liacouras Center and looked for a quick knockout of the Temple Owls. It almost happened. Temple regrouped and gave Houston a tussle before falling 66 – 61. Both teams came off a pause due to COVID protocols. Temple was still shorthanded because of injury and non-COVID illness.
Houston started fast scoring 18 of the first 23 points. The Cherry and White gathered themselves, and with a solid defensive effort made it a one possession game four times in the second half. But they could not get over the hump.
“We let them get off to a good start,” said Temple Coach Aaron McKie. “You don’t want to do that with a team that is on the road/ You want to be the team that gets off to a good start. We were able to settle in and make it a game. Some of the little things you don’t see on the stat sheet cost us the game.”
Credit the defense in the second half for keeping Temple in contention. Houston made nearly half of their 32 shots in the first half. In thee latter twenty minutes they would convert only 8 of 30 shots. Temple made 20 of 51 for the game and had a 10 – 4 edge over the opponent from beyond the arc.
The Cougars used a 12 – 0 run in the first half to lead 36 – 20. The Owls answered with a second half starting 9 – 0 run to get in contention. A basket by Owls guard Jeremiah Williams cut the deficit to one-point at 42 – 41 with just under 15 and a half minutes to play. Houston answered stretching the lead to double-digits. Temple came back and were within 57 – 54 with just over 6 minutes to play on a three-pointer by Jahlil White.. Thirty seconds later Zach Hicks nailed a three from the corner and it appeared that the game was even. But White was called for an offensive foul on the play which negated the basket, and was the fifth foul for White. Temple’s depleted roster lost another player. Roughly a minute and a half later Nick Jourdain got a basket to pull the Owls to within 59 – 57. But a shot clock beating three-ball by Cougars guard Ramon Walker, Jr. gave his team enough space to hold on for the victory.
Houston was able to retain their leads by a lot of little things adding up. The Cougars took 11 more shots (62 – 51), outrebounded the Owls 40 -34 and by 22 – 15 off the offensive glass, and committed 8 less fouls.
“I thought our issues came off the defensive rebounding where we gave them second chance opportunities,” McKie said. “We got ourselves in foul trouble. But we cleaned that up . It could have been potentially a different outcome.”
Damian Dunn scored a team-high 14 points for the Cherry and White and handed out 5 assists. Jourdain scored 12 points. Williams scored 9 points a dished out 6 assists. White got a 7 and 7 in points and rebounds.
Fabian White, Jr. led Houston and the game with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Three other Cougars scored in double-figures. Jamal Shead contributed 14 points while Walker added 13. Taze Moore broke double-digits getting 10 points.
Houston improves to 12 – 2 and gets a win in their American opener. Temple falls to 7 – 6 and are 0 – 2 in conference, and travel to UCF for a Wednesday game.
“I’ll take the effort, but it’s still a loss,” McKie said. “It’s something we can grow from. They’re certainly one of the better teams in the country, but we wanted to make a statement. We didn’t make the statement that I wanted the guys to make. So, here we are.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian