The Temple Owls sulked inside their huddle, their double-digit lead shrunken to almost nothing.

Their opponent had the momentum and energy, needing only a good second-half push to knock a staggering team over.

Then, an Owls captain spoke up.

"I told them, I was doing a pretty good job down low," senior power forward Lavoy Allen told his teammates.

Out of that huddle, Allen backed up his words. The 6-foot-9 senior scored 11 of Temple's first 13 points during a game-deciding 17-8 run that led to an 84-74 victory over Northern Illinois at the Liacouras Center.

"Lavoy knows that's what we need from him," Temple junior guard Ramone Moore said of Allen, who scored a season-high 22 points, nine more than his previous season best.

The NBA prospect added seven rebounds and three assists as the Owls (8-2) nabbed their fifth consecutive victory.

This game marked his sixth career 20-point performance. But the all-American candidate was disappointed with his performance.

"I think I could have rebounded the ball more," Allen said. "I made a lot of mistakes. And those guys were a lot tougher than we were."

He said that four or five would-be rebounds were knocked out of his hands by the Huskies (3-5).

"I bet the game would have been a lot further apart if I came up with those rebounds," Allen said.

The same can be said about Temple's poor foul shooting and failure to contain Northern Illinois guard Xavier Silas.

The 6-foot-5 senior came into the contest as the nation's leading scorer, averaging 28.3 points.

Temple used six different defenders on him and even tried a box-and-one defense early on. None of that worked.

Silas finished with a game-high 27 points to go with six rebounds and five assists in 37 minutes.

"We talked five or six different ways," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said of defending Silas. "Obviously, none of them worked. It's kind of like Bob Uecker's thought of how to catch a knuckleball. There's two ways to catch a knuckleball. Neither of them work.

"So we had different ways to guarding Silas. None of them worked."

The Owls made just 20 of 35 free throws. Temple missed 6 of 8 foul shots during a stretch late in the game.

Unsatisfied, Dunphy gave the Owls a stern lecture in the locker room after the game.

"Is anybody satisfied with what went on?" he said at the news conference when asked about being disappointed with his team. "We shoot 20 for 35 at the line. That's pretty poor. I felt Northern Illinois played better than we did and worked harder than we did."

Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 610-313-8029 or kpompey@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @pompeysgridlock