Temple needed to find a different way to win Friday night at Cincinnati. Its leading scorer, Damian Dunn, was held scoreless for the first time in his career.
That’s because Dunn and his 15 points per game spent most of the game on the bench in a white T-shirt. He was limited to 12 minutes due to a knee injury suffered in the first half.
Four Owls reached double figures in scoring, but they found themselves playing catch-up. Temple was down seven with 2 minutes, 2 seconds remaining.
The Owls made a late run, but they ran out of time in a 71-69 loss to the Bearcats (6-7, 4-4 American Athletic Conference).
“We dug a hole for ourselves in the first half,” head coach Aaron McKie said. “I thought late in the game they got some separation, but we just kept fighting. [Cincinnati] converted when they needed to.
“With all that being said, we still had an opportunity with the ball in our hands to be able to at least tie the game.”
Fouls haunted Temple much as they had in its 70-67 loss at Wichita State. Down by two with a minute to play, Khalif Battle bumped Mason Madsen and was called for a foul. Madsen made 1-of-2 free throws.
Temple (4-8, 3-8 AAC) was down three on the ensuing possession when Battle was called for an offensive foul.
“It’s starting to get repetitive,” McKie said. “I don’t want to really get into officiating because they have a job to do. I think late-game situations, some of those calls you just have to let go.”
Brendan Barry was off to a hot start this season until the scouting report on Temple’s best shooter made its way around the conference. In his first three conference games, he made 13 threes and scored 43 points. In the next seven games, he made six threes and scored 24 points.
Temple coach Aaron McKie talked about getting Barry open more, and it finally happened on Friday. After he started 1-for-6 from the field, Barry finished with a team-high 17 points and made three three-pointers.
“That’s huge,” McKie said. “We still have to find creative ways to get him some shots. We know if we get him shots, he’ll knock them down.”
Jeremiah Williams (16 points), Battle (11) and De’Vondre Perry (10) joined Barry in double figures.
It was Temple’s third consecutive one-possession loss.
“These losses hurt,” Perry said. “Every last one of them hurt differently.”