Temple coach Fran Dunphy had a simple explanation after the Owls were upset for the second time this season at home.
George Washington's Tyler Cavanaugh hit a three-pointer from the corner with eight seconds remaining to provide the winning margin in a 66-63 nonconference win over Temple on Wednesday night at the Liacouras Center. The Owls missed on a chance to send the game into overtime when Daniel Dingle barely misfired on a three-pointer at the buzzer.
"We're not good enough defensively right now," said Dunphy, whose 6-3 team saw its five-game winning streak snapped. "We need to work like crazy on the defensive end."
The biggest problem was three-point defense. George Washington (6-4) was 9 for 18 from beyond the arc. For the season, Owls opponents are shooting 38.2 percent from three-point range.
Down the stretch, the Owls couldn't contain Cavanaugh, a 6-foot-9 senior who led George Washington with 20 points. Cavanaugh, who began his career at Wake Forest, scored the Colonials' final 10 points.
Temple had trailed by 15 points with less than 11 minutes left and made a good run. Dingle hit two threes to tie the score at 61 and later Shizz Alston's jumper with 38 seconds left tied it at 63.
Jordan Roland then drove the lane and kicked the ball out to Cavanaugh, who buried the jumper.
"It was tough giving up that lead; Dingle made some big shots down the stretch," Cavanaugh said. "Jordan Roland drove in and kicked it out and luckily it went in so we could get out of here with a win."
With the Owls looking to tie the score, it appeared as if Josh Brown drew contact from Cavanaugh beyond the three-point line, but there was no call.
"There wasn't enough contact to call it," said Brown, who had 10 points in 24 minutes, both season highs in his third game back from offseason Achilles tendon surgery.
Instead of firing a forced shot, Brown had the presence of mind to pass it to Dingle, whose open three wasn't off by much at the buzzer.
"I thought it was going in," said Dingle, who had a team-high 14 points. ". . . I had the opportunity to step up and hit a wide-open shot and it just didn't drop."
Temple's Obi Enechionyia picked up his fourth foul with 8 minutes, 24 seconds left and George Washington leading by 54-44 after Cavanaugh made two free throws.
Enechionyia returned with 4:44 left and the Owls down, 59-52, but he fouled out a little more than a minute later. The Owls trailed by 61-52 after Cavanaugh made the two foul shots.
Enechionyia ended with 12 points, seven rebounds, and five blocked shots, but he scored just two points in the second half.
Temple's fourth-leading scorer, Quinton Rose, played only 12 minutes, and just two in the second half. Dunphy said he was bothered by a cramp.
While George Washington, last year's NIT winner, is a more than respectable team, this loss, along with the earlier home defeat to New Hampshire, does not enhance a team's NCAA resumé.
Temple had been feeling good, with wins over then-ranked opponents Florida State and West Virginia and the winning streak entering the game. But no doubt the Owls will be working on plenty of defensive drills before resuming action Saturday against DePaul in Miami.