The Temple men's basketball season has been in a downward spiral since early December with losses in…
No Magic in Orlando
The Owls fell to 5-7 overall and 0-2 in the American Athletic Conference with another close defeat — this time a 78-76 setback at Central Florida.
They also saw another player injured as freshman forward Mark Williams departed in the first half with a left ankle sprain. He did not return and is listed as day-to-day, a blow to a squad which saw sophomore Daniel Dingle likely lost for the season after suffering a knee injury in practice Sunday.
"We'll get it checked out Monday and hopefully he'll be able to play (Thursday against South Florida)," said Temple coach Fran Dunphy. "(Losing another player), it's damaging, troubling."
While the Owls lost three leads in the final minute in their previous four games, they fought an uphill battle most of the second half Saturday. They held a one-point lead early in the second half and tied the game at 66 with just over five minutes to play, but Central Florida pulled away.
An inadvertent whistle with the Owls trailing by three having apparently forced a 10-second violation probably cost them their last opportunity for a comeback.
"(The close losses) could be inexperience," said Dunphy. "We need a stop one time, better scoring some others. The encouraging thing is we're right where we need to be at the end."
Florida native Will Cummings had a career day, scoring 31 points for the Owls and Josh Brown played a career-high 33 minutes, scoring seven points and and seven rebounds — also the best marks of his short career. Quenton DeCosey added 14 points and Anthony Lee scored 12 for the Owls.
"It wasn't good enough," said Cummings. "I'm not the type to worry about myself. I was just running the offense, getting comfortable taking shots. It was nothing special, I had a bad game against Rutgers (Wednesday) and came out more aggressive."
Said Dunphy: "He scored 20 points in the first half and they weren't going to let him score that in the second half. We needed other guys to step up. We're a little short, and we need everybody. We need more consistency."
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