The good thing is that Temple began its winter break with a win. Of course, it helped to be playing one of the nation's worst basketball teams.

Khalif Wyatt scored 20 points Monday night, leading the Owls to a 63-46 victory over Alcorn State at the Liacouras Center.

But the Owls (8-1) weren't as impressive as a 17-point victory would indicate. Temple made its final two baskets in garbage time to lift its shooting percentage to 40 percent. The Owls also committed 15 turnovers and made numerous mental mistakes.

"Sometimes we get caught in between being very kind and considerate to our teammates to shooting a little bit too quickly," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "We haven't found a great rhythm. Other than the second half of Villanova [on Dec. 5], we just haven't had a great rhythm to our game."

Fortunately for the Owls, the Braves struggled more in the rhythm department, committing 18 turnovers and shooting 34 percent.

This is nothing new for Alcorn State (2-8), which has lost four straight and eight of its last nine games.

The Owls went 6 minutes, 42 seconds without making a field goal before intermission. Alcorn State, which trailed by 10 points early on, pulled within two during the Temple drought. The Owls led by 28-26 at halftime.

They opened the second half with a 22-9 run to build a 50-35 cushion and put the game out of reach.

Even with lackluster performances, the Owls have won eight of nine.

"The record beats the alternative," Dunphy said. "I wish I would go back in my office. I would sit back there and say, 'Man, we're really clicking.' We are not. We haven't done that yet other than against Villanova."

Wyatt's 20 points gave him 1,007 for his career. Owls center Anthony Lee was ill and missed the game.

Contact Keith Pompey at kpompey@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @pompeysgridlock.