South Florida guard Javon Green buried a three on a broken play from the right wing with 20 seconds remaining that proved to be the game-winner, beating the Owls, 52-49, Monday night in Tampa, Fla.
Damian Dunn spun off his defender at the other end to give Temple a chance but was called for an offensive foul. Free throws put the Owls (13-8, 6-4 American Athletic Conference) away, accounting for their first loss at the Yuengling Center in program history.
“For as bad as we played we still had an opportunity to win the game,” said Temple coach Aaron McKie. “It was a loose ball, they catch it and hoist up a three. You can just kind of feel it throughout, that’s the kind of game it was.”
» READ MORE: Temple wins another close one against Tulsa, 67-58
Temple struggled to find any consistency at the offensive end. With Jeremiah Williams going down early with an injury, the Owls took an evenly distributed approach to scoring. Dunn led the way with 11 points, while three other players chipped in at least five.
Jamir Chaplin had a team-high 14 points for USF (7-11, 2-4 AAC) shooting 5 of 10 from the field and grabbing four rebounds.
Temple will have the remainder of the week off before the back half of its two-game road trip at Tulane on Saturday.
Williams injures shoulder
Williams swiped down on the backside of an entry pass to Bulls center Russel Tchewa with seven minutes remaining in the first half. He walked away clutching his right arm as play ensued.
He was assisted by a trainer after coming off the floor and taken to the locker room moments later. Temple played the remainder of the contest absent its starting point guard with a shoulder injury. He finished with four points on 2 of 3 shooting.
Temple’s coaching staff considers Williams to be the closest thing to a player-coach and the lifeblood of what the Owls are trying to accomplish at both ends of the floor.
“We never stabilized,” McKie said of Williams’ absence. “We go through these moments in the game where we aren’t doing everything right. He’s our foundation and he stabilizes us. We were just never able to get that.”
Guards Tai Strickland and Hysier Miller saw the lion’s share of Williams’ minutes the rest of the way, combining for 10 points.
Dunn was also attended to for what appeared to be an ankle injury in the final few minutes of the contest.
Points in the paint
While the Bulls shot a dreadful 1 for 12 from three-point range, they found a bulk of their production in the interior. Of USF’s 50 total points, points in the paint accounted for 30.
One-on-one battles in the interior with Tchewa, who finished with 13 points and four rebounds, proved to be a tough cover for Temple’s forward rotation.
Additional awareness for the Bulls’ leading rebounder left open lanes for their other four players on the floor. That led to put-back dunks from Jake Boggs and Jamir Chaplin.
Temple’s interior struggles can partially be attributed to foul trouble for starters Nick Jourdain (3), Jahlil White (3) and Arashma Parks (4).