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City Six basketball: Temple drops conference opener to No. 6 Houston, La Salle fails to get over hump in 84-71 loss to Maryland

La Salle didn't allow Maryland's lead to reach 20, but it also never got back to within two possessions in the second half.

Sherif Kenney led the Explorers with 16 points, including four threes.
Sherif Kenney led the Explorers with 16 points, including four threes.Read moreSTEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer

Temple’s defense forced 18 turnovers against one of the best group of guards in the country, but the Owls also turned it over 19 times in their American Athletic Conference opener, a 76-50 loss to No. 6 Houston at the Fertitta Center.

Houston jumped out to a 15-point lead in the first half, and Temple couldn’t get any closer than eight.

Temple (1-1, 0-1) only shot 28.9%. J.P. Moorman was the only Owl to reach double figures with 12 points.

Aaron McKie emphasized the need to contain the sixth-ranked offensive rebounding team in the nation. Houston grabbed 15 offensive boards, which was one shy of its average. The Owls had nine of their own but were outrebounded, 43-26.

One highlight was Dartmouth transfer Brendan Barry. He made his first three three-pointers and finished with nine points and three assists.

Things got a little chirpy in the second half. Houston’s DeJon Jarreau exchanged words with Temple’s Damian Dunn. Double technical fouls were handed out. Minutes later, Temple’s Jeremiah Williams had words for Tramon Mark, and they also received double techs.

“When you go one the road, you have to be mentally tough,” McKie said. “You can’t get into a shouting match with a team. We have to focus on what we’re trying to do offensively and defensively.”

Williams and Dunn led the offensive showcase in the season opener. The duo combined for 15 points on 2-for-11 shooting against Houston.

Temple transfer guard Khalif Battle sat out with hamstring injury.

La Salle fails to get over hump

Hanging around with Maryland wasn’t hard for La Salle. Getting over the hump was the problem.

The Terrapins led the Explorers for 38 minutes, 44 seconds of game time. The lead hovered between seven and 14 points, for the most part.

Each time La Salle tried to make it a two-possession game, Maryland had an answer as the Explorers fell to the Terrapins (5-2), 84-71, at the Xfinity Center in College Park, Md.

La Salle freshman Anwar Gill’s motor was running fast, like usual. He made a driving driving layup with 3:48 left in the first half that made it a five-point game. That was the last time the Explorers (3-5) were within two possessions.

Trailing 50-38, La Salle went with its five-out lineup of David Beatty, Sherif Kenney, Scott Spencer, Christian Ray and Gill. The quickness bothered Maryland. La Salle made a 7-0 run and got within 10 for the first time since 2:37 remained in the first half when Spencer nailed a corner three.

“That lineup forced tough shots, we rebounded, and we were able to get out in transition,” La Salle head coach Ashley Howard said.

Maryland had five players in double figures and shot 46.2%. La Salle shot 43.3% overall, but it was a tale of two halves. The offense shot 53.3% in the second half after making just 9 of 28 first-half baskets.

Kenney led the Explorers with 16 points, including four threes. Gill, Jack Clark and Clifton Moore each scored 12.

The Terrapins only shot 7-for-28 from three, but they attempted 24 free throws and had 44 points in the paint.

The constant attack led to Clark and Gill fouling out. La Salle’s Jhamir Brickus tied a career-high with eight assists, but he also had four fouls.

La Salle is searching for consistency as it enters Atlantic 10 play. Kenney, Spencer, Gill, Beatty, Brickus and Clark have shown offensive flashes but none has done it consistently.

The Explorers open A-10 play on Dec. 30 at Dayton.