LONG BEACH, Calif. - It didn't take Temple coach Fran Dunphy long to figure out why his Owls lost to Long Beach State last night.
"[Long Beach] made shots when they needed to and we did not do as good a job on the defensive end as we should have," Dunphy said after Temple's 76-71 loss at the Pyramid.
The Owls (5-5) were led by Dionte Christmas, who had 19 points on 6-for-19 shooting. Sergio Olmos scored 13 points and Lavoy Allen and Ryan Brooks added 10 each.
Long Beach State (5-6) was led by Donovan Morris, who had 23 points and T.J. Robinson, who scored a career-high 18 points.
Morris made five free throws in the final 1 minute, 20 seconds to seal the win for the 49ers and snap Long Beach's five-game losing streak.
The Owls, coming off a loss to Kansas on Saturday, have dropped two straight.
Trailing with 1:09 to play, 71-61, Christmas and T.J. Dileo hit back to back three-pointers to cut the 49ers' lead to four. However, Stephan Gilling hit two free throws with 32 seconds left, and Morris did the rest from the line.
In the first half, the Owls survived a 7-0 scoring run by Long Beach to pull to within four points, 27-23, at halftime.
But Long Beach went on another run - this time a 10-0 spurt - in the second half and the Owls, though they got close near the end, never recovered.
"Those two big runs were it," Dunphy said. "We could not allow that to happen and we did."
Free throws may have been an even more telling factor. Temple was 10-for-14 from the line while the 49ers were 25-for-32.