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Temple handily defeats Central Florida

Four Owls score in double figures to beat the Knights.

ORLANDO, Fla. - Four players scored in double figures for Temple Wednesday night in a convincing, 86-62 thrashing of Central Florida at CFE Arena.

The Owls (14-7, 5-3 American Athletic Conference) entered the game ranked last in the conference in field goal percentage, but connected on 50.8 percent of their shots (33 of 65) en route to their second straight win.

Temple held UCF (9-11, 2-7) without a bucket over the final 4 minutes, 38 seconds in the first half after a layup cut its advantage to 27-18. A three-pointer by Daniel Dingle followed to extend the lead to 12 points as Temple went on to build a 37-18 lead by intermission.

Philadelphia native Daiquan Walker got UCF within 16 points on a three-pointer to start the second half, but baskets by Will Cummings, Jesse Morgan, Quenton DeCosey and Devontae Watson put the game out of reach.

Not that there was much for the Owls to worry about against the league's worst defensive team in front of an announced crowd of 4,224.

Cummings, who missed time recently with a leg injury, finished with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists in his return to the Sunshine State. The Jacksonville native did much of his damage in the first half, 10 points, in a game played in front of family and friends.

"He's our leader, he knows pretty much what he wants to do with the basketball," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "The other thing is he's good at keeping people in front of him; he's really good defensively. As much as it's important for us to have him on offense, it's really important to have him on defense."

The Owls ended a three-game skid last week against USF and appear to be "getting our swag back," said Cummings, who is back in the lineup despite some limitations.

"It's getting better every day," he said. "I can't dunk right now, and I can't get to a full-out gear that I normally get to in transition. Those are really the two things I can't do right now."

Temple forced UCF into 16 turnovers and claimed a 37-29 advantage in rebounds.

Morgan drained three shots from beyond the arc in the first half and finished with a team-high 15 points. Devin Coleman added a season-high 14 points and four rebounds, while DeCosey had 13 points and three assists.

UCF was without leading scorer B.J. Taylor, who suffered a concussion in a loss Sunday against Cincinnati.

Walker made his first start of the season in Taylor's place. The junior out of Constitution finished with 14 points and four assists but turned the ball over six times. Brandon Goodwin led the Knights with 17 points.

Temple defeated the Knights, 84-78, on Jan. 4 and improved to 3-2 in the all-time series. The teams split their regular-season matchups a year ago, before UCF scored a double-overtime win over the Owls in the inaugural AAC Tournament.

UCF entered the game leading the conference in three-point percentage and second in three-point shots made per game, but went only 8-for-24 from long range.

Temple hosts Tulane (13-7, 4-4) Saturday at noon.