There is not much to solve when facing Cincinnati, a team that has little finesse and all force. Temple felt the force Sunday while squandering a 14-point lead early in the second half of a 72-68 loss to the Bearcats at the Liacouras Center.

It was Cincinnati’s fifth straight win over Temple, now 15-5 and 5-2 in the American Athletic Conference.

Cincinnati (18-3, 7-1) is a team built on grit. The Bearcats had a 46-22 rebounding edge, including 16-3 on the offensive glass.

“We weren’t tough enough, simple as that,” said Temple sophomore forward J.P. Moorman, who came off the bench to score a career-high 20 points.

Temple, which entered the game leading the AAC in free throw percentage (.739), shot just 19 of 31 from the foul line (61.3 percent).

“When teams are playing well and you have a player like J.P. making shots the way he was making [them], you can quit and go home or get better on defense,” Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said.

The Bearcats opted for the latter.

Cincinnati committed only two of its 10 turnovers in the second half and simply dominated on the glass. During the second half, the Bearcats outrebounded Temple, 25-10, including 10-2 on the offensive glass.

“We had eight different guys have offensive rebounds. That was the difference; guys stepped up their intensity level, found a way to win the game,” Cronin said.

The other factor was Cincinnati’s Jarron Cumberland reverting to form after being held to seven first-half points on 2-for-7 shooting.

Averaging 18.1 points entering the game, the rugged 6-foot-5, Cumberland finished with 25 points and hit 12 of 17 free throws. The Owls couldn’t contend with his strength while driving to the basket.

Besides Moorman’s 20 points, Temple received 18 from Shizz Alston and 16 from Quinton Rose.

Temple’s Nate Pierre-Louis made two free throws to cut Cincinnati’s lead to 63-60 with 2 minutes, 31 seconds left. The Bearcats increased the lead to as many as seven points, but Temple cut it to 71-68 on Alston’s three-pointer with 2.7 seconds left. Cumberland hit one of two free throws with 1.8 seconds remaining to ice the game.

The Owls led, 35-25, at halftime. It was Cincinnati’s biggest halftime deficit of the season. The score could have been more lopsided, but the Owls struggled down the stretch. They didn’t commit a turnover in their first 27 possessions, but had four in their last eight possessions.

Cincinnati shot 0-for-7 in the first half from three-point range and only 3-for-18 for the game.

“Nobody makes shots here unless you are in the Big 5,” Cronin said, possibly referring to Penn, which was 12-for-30 from three-point range in a 77-70 win at Temple on Jan. 19. “We never make shots, and that is why it is brutal to come in here.”

Brutal is a way to describe facing Cincinnati, a team that rarely loses the intensity battle to anybody. That is why the Bearcats have been to eight straight NCAA tournaments and appear headed for a ninth.

Temple still has plenty of work to do, although Cronin said afterward he thinks the Owls are an NCAA team.

For that to happen, the Owls know what they have to do.

“We have to bring it to the table every game,” Moorman said on day the Owls faced a team that refused to be outworked on either end of the court.