Friday, November 27, 2015

Temple upset by South Florida, 58-44, in NCAA Tournament

On its biggest stage of the season, Temple's offense turned in its worst performance of the season.

Temple upset by South Florida, 58-44, in NCAA Tournament

Temple guard Juan Fernandez drives on South Florida´s Anthony Collins in the first half on Friday. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Temple guard Juan Fernandez drives on South Florida's Anthony Collins in the first half on Friday. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

On its biggest stage of the season, Temple's offense turned in its worst performance of the season.

The No. 5-seed Owls shot a season-low 35.7 percent from the field in a stunning 58-44 loss to 12-seed South Florida in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Temple took a 19-15 lead into the locker room at halftime, but it should have been a lot more. After South Florida made its first two field goal attempts ofthe first half, the Bulls missed 22 straight attempts over a span of 16 minutes and seven seconds span.

Overall in the half, South Florida made just three of 27 field goal attempts, including two of nine three-pointers. The remaining points came from the free throw line, where the Bulls shot 7-for-11.

The Owls failed to capitalize on South Florida's ugly offensive performance. They made only five of 13 field goal attempts and committed six turnovers in the first 20 minutes.

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It did not take long after halftime for South Florida to make Temple pay for its first-half mistakes. The Bulls outscored the Owls by a 21-4 margin in the first eight minutes of the second half. 

Hugh Robertson contributed four points and three steals, and a wide open three by Toarlyn Fitzpatrick forced Fran Dunphy to call timeout at 13:45. 

Temple was 2-for-8 from the field in the half at that point, and Khalif Wyatt made matters worse at one point by missing all of his free throws after being fouled missing a three-pointer.

The Owls rallied to within three points with just over five minutes remaining, but a deficit that had been as large as 39-25 with 12:07 left in the game proved too great to overcome.

What may have been the decisive play in the game came with four minutes remaining on the clock.

Khalif Wyatt, who led Temple in scoring with 19 points, missed a driving layup and was assessed a technical foul after complaining to the officials that there was contact in the lane.

For as poorly as the Owls shot, South Florida was even worse. The Bulls shot 34.0 percent from the field for the game, though they were 14-for-23 in the second half.

Temple's loss once again exposed the biggest hole in Fran Dunphy's résumé. The dean of the Big 5's coaching establishment has won just twice in 16 NCAA Tournament games contested. 

You can re-live the action, if you have the stomach for it, by reading the transcript of my live chat here.
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Soft Pretzel Logic is's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.

Jonathan Tannenwald
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