SO HOW DO you get over your first loss, a 23-pointer to second-ranked Duke?

Well, you start by beating whoever is next up on the schedule, which in Temple's case happened to be a four-win Towson team that had already won three more times than it did last season for new coach Pat Skerry.

The Owls (7-1) did what they had to do Wednesday night at the Liacouras Center, 72-61. They will now get Alcorn State on Monday and then Canisius 2 nights later, both at home, before their next big test on Dec. 22 against still-unbeaten Syracuse in New York.

"There was nothing pretty about it," said coach Fran Dunphy, whose Owls shot 38 percent. "We've kind of done that a number of times this year. But we'll take it."

The Tigers (4-6), who for some reason will be playing their first home game on Saturday, start four newcomers, including three Big East transfers, and a freshman. But they lost to No. 15 Georgetown by only six points 4 days earlier.

The Owls got a career-high 20 points from senior forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, to go with six assists, one off the career best he set last week at Villanova. Not too shabby for someone who often flies under the radar.

"I don't mind," he said. "I work hard. The other guys work hard, too. I don't care who gets the glory."

It was a four-point game with 15 minutes left, before Temple went on a 12-2 run to go up 53-39. It would never get under 10 after that.

Three other Owls also reached double digits. Scootie Randall had 13 points, even though it took him more than 27 minutes to get his first points and he shot 4-for-13, 0-for-6 from the arc. But he did have a career-high five assists, and tied a career best with 12 rebounds. Khalif Wyatt had 11, on 3-for-11 and 1-for-3. Both have been struggling from the field, but they're shooters so you let them keep doing their thing until it comes around again. And odds are it will. Sophomore center Anthony Lee contributed 10 points in his 17 minutes. Sophomore lead guard Will Cummings, who has been getting better, had eight points and a career-high five steals.

"If your shot's not falling, you try to help in other ways," Randall said. "I've been playing all my life. I've had [stretches] where it's not falling. You can't let it get frustrating. Teams try to take you out of what you do [best]. You have to find ways to get easier points."

Hollis-Jefferson was particularly effective from midrange, which has become a lost art in today's game.

"I've been working on it," he said. "I've spent a lot of time in the gym. I try to put it to use out there. It worked for me tonight."

Added Randall: "We know Rahlir can make that shot. But a lot of times he's just giving us the ball."

Not shockingly, Randall said Dunphy had gotten after them pretty good coming off Duke.

"We did a lot of running, learning, teaching," he said. "He tried to get it through our head that teams aren't going to fall down [for us] because of who we are. It was a lesson we had to learn.

"There's a lot of things we could do extremely better. Coach said the same thing in the locker room. As a leader, I know we can do better. There's [still] a little slippage on the defensive end. It's something coach wants us to really buckle down on, something each and every guy can improve on."

Junior forward Jerrelle Benimon, who came over from Georgetown and leads Towson in just about everything, had a career-high 30 points, double his average and one more than he got against Vermont last week, on 14-for-22 shooting. He also nabbed 18 boards. And never came off the court. Apparently Skerry is no dummy.

"He's a hard guy to guard," Dunphy said. "For the most part, and I know this is going to sound crazy, I thought we contained him. He plays as competitively as anybody I've seen.

"We've got to play them next year [down there]. I'm not sure I'm looking forward to that."

Fortunately, for now all he has to do is think Alcorn.