This was not the Temple Owls' prettiest effort.

Their best players - Scootie Randall and Khalif Wyatt - struggled with their shooting Wednesday night against Towson. And Temple was unable to stop Towson power forward Jerrelle Benimon.

But the Owls still got back into the win column thanks in large part to an unlikely hero.

Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson scored a career-high 20 points as Temple prevailed, 72-61, at the Liacouras Center.

"I was just making shots," said Hollis-Jefferson, an undersize power forward who averages 9.8 points per game. "I have been working on the mid-range [shots] for the longest. So I put it to use out there and it fell tonight."

That was a good thing for the Owls (7-1), who were coming off a 90-67 loss to second-ranked Duke on Saturday.

Wyatt, a senior guard, scored 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting. Randall finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists. The fifth-year senior made just 4 of 13 shots from the field and was 0 for 6 on three-point attempts.

Temple shot 38 percent as a team, and Towson (4-6) had a 40-28 edge in the paint.

Benimon scored a lot of those putbacks. The 6-foot-8, 245-pound power forward, who transferred from Georgetown, had game highs of 30 points and 18 rebounds.

"I think it was bad," Randall said when asked to evaluate the Owls' performance. "We made shots. We missed shots. But I think there are a lot of things out there we can do extremely better than we did."

Hollis-Jefferson, however, made 9 of 16 shots and added six assists, six rebounds, and three steals in 37 minutes. The 6-6, 215-pounder from Chester, who was known primarily as a finisher around the basket, scored seven of the Owls' first 11 points.

"I think if we are going to be a good basketball team, he needs to make mid-range jump shots," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "He certainly stepped up and made a lot of those tonight."

Temple held on to a four-point lead with 15 minutes, 5 seconds remaining, then went on a 12-2 run to take a 53-39 advantage. The Owls maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

Rysheed looks on. Vaux High point guard Rysheed Jordan was at the game. The 6-4 senior has narrowed his list of college choices to Temple, St. John's, and UCLA. Jordan is regarded by the Rivals.com recruiting website as the nation's 29th-best college prospect in the Class of 2013. There were seven guys in Temple's student section with red R-Y-S-H-E-E-D letters painted on their chests.

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