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Temple hangs with unbeaten SMU before falling, 79-71

The Owls got within one with less than seven minutes remaining but went without a field goal over the next three minutes.

Temple's Damian Dunn finished with 15 points in just 21 minutes.
Temple's Damian Dunn finished with 15 points in just 21 minutes.Read moreSTEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer

Arashma Parks was standing near the free-throw line when he dropped off a bounce pass to J.P. Moorman that resulted in a layup. That gave Temple the lead against undefeated Southern Methodist with 14 minutes left in the second half Wednesday.

But the Mustangs answered emphatically. After a timeout, they raced to a quick 8-0 run. Temple hung around but couldn’t get over the hump in a 79-71 loss at the Liacouras Center.

Temple (1-2, 0-2 American Athletic Conference) rallied and trailed by 63-61 with 6 minutes, 45 seconds left after De’Vondre Perry made a put-back layup. It was the Owls’ last field goal for more than three minutes. SMU’s lead grew to 71-62 before Brendan Barry knocked down a three-pointer.

“We’re still learning how to play with each other,” Barry said. “I think we got good shots around that time. We can’t have those kind of scoring lulls against teams like [SMU].”

Barry made 5 of 10 three-pointers and led Temple with 17 points. The Dartmouth transfer’s addition is adding a new element to the offense. The question now is: How much will Temple be able to take advantage of it?

Outside of Barry, the Owls shot 4-for-21 from three.

“I thought we took too many contested threes,” coach Aaron McKie said. “We didn’t get in and kick it out timely to get the clean threes.”

Four players finished with 13 or more points for SMU (6-0, 2-0 AAC). The Mustangs shot 52% from the field and 40% from three-point territory. The Owls shot 37% from the field and 29% on threes.

Damian Dunn scored 15 points on 5-for-8 shooting for the Owls but was limited to 21 minutes because of foul trouble. He fouled out with 1:45 left.

“It’s fully on me on the majority of the fouls that I picked up today,” Dunn said. “I’m going to keep doing my best to stay out of foul trouble, but I’m going to cheer for my teammates at the end of the bench, too.”

Strong work on the boards helped keep Temple in the game. Jake Forrester finished with 12 rebounds and Moorman added nine. The Owls had a 53-48 advantage on the boards that resulted in a 13-6 edge in second-chance points.

Closing games is one of those things that comes with experience for young rosters.

“This is new to them,” McKie said. “We’ll get better from learning. We’ll get better as a team.”