The Temple Owls are hoping to bounce back from Sunday’s 80-59 home loss to Houston, when the winners scored the first 15 points. Temple (15-12) now must win the American Athletic Conference tournament or at least reach the final if it hopes to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.
The Owls are off until Sunday, when they host Central Florida, which beat Temple, 60-39, on Jan. 7 in Orlando.
“We have to figure ways to get better shots than the last couple of times we played them,” said Temple coach Fran Dunphy, whose team shot just 17 for 53 (32.1 percent) and 4 for 18 (18.2 percent) from three-point range at UCF.
The Knights will be without 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall, who played in the first Temple game, but is out for the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum.
The Owls will end the regular season with games at UConn and Tulsa.
Temple entered Tuesday with the ninth-best schedule strength in the country, an RPI of 44 and three wins over teams ranked in the Top 15 of this week’s Associated Press poll (Auburn, Wichita State and Clemson). Yet there have been too many bad losses, leaving the Owls with their backs to the wall.
Sunday vs. Central Florida, 2 p.m. (ESPN U)
Penn rebounded from its first Ivy League loss, at Harvard, to earn two hard-fought road wins last weekend, by 74-62 at Columbia and then 79-71 at Cornell. The Quakers and Harvard are tied for first place in the Ivy league at 9-1 with four games left. Both teams have clinched two of the four Ivy League playoff berths. The two will meet Saturday at the Palestra.
“Our guys were a little banged up, and it was a great week with different guys stepping up,” Penn coach Steve Donahue said.
One of those guys was Devon Goodman, a 6-foot sophomore from Germantown Academy. Goodman, who entered the Columbia game with 35 points for the season, finished with a career-high 23.
Friday vs. Dartmouth, 7 p.m. (Ivy League Network)
Saturday vs. Harvard, 7 p.m. (ESPN3/Ivy League Network)
Villanova looked shaky and uncertain with the basketball and committed a season-high 19 turnovers last week in a loss at Providence. Three days later, in front of another deafening sellout crowd, at Xavier, the Wildcats were confident and assured, and turned the ball over six times in a 95-79 win that put them in a virtual tie for first in the Big East.
Jay Wright’s explanation?
“Eighteen- to 22-year-olds,” the Wildcats coach said. “You’re coaching young guys and they’re trying their best. We got out of character. We got sloppy. It wasn’t just them; it was Providence, too.
“The difference is watching film, addressing it and changing it. Sometimes, players can look at that and say, ‘It wasn’t my fault. I got fouled.’ These guys said, ‘No, it was me. I can control that.’ That’s the leadership. It’s the older guys taking a lead that they’re coming into this game to pay attention to detail.”’
One of the older guys taking the lead was junior point guard Jalen Brunson, who had seven turnovers against Providence, or as many as he had committed in his five previous games combined. At Xavier, his totals: eight assists, zero turnovers.
Wednesday vs. DePaul, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
Saturday at Creighton, 2:30 p.m. (Fox 29)
In Saturday’s win over Duquesne, 6-foot-9 Taylor Funk set a St. Joseph’s freshman record with his 72nd three-point field goal. That broke the mark set last year by Charlie Brown, who has not played this season because of a fractured left wrist.
“I guess I can trash-talk with Charlie Brown for next year when we are on the court, but it is cool. I am honored to have broken it. I am excited,” Funk said.
Funk has hit 72 of 181 three-pointers (39.8 percent). He is averaging 12.2 points, and it didn’t take opponents long to begin covering him tightly.
— Marc Narducci (@sjnard) February 20, 2018
Funk has had to quicken his release, which he has refined daily either before or after practice, working with a shooting gun that fires passes quickly.
“I put it on a one-second release so it gets back as quick as it can, so my release has been a lot faster and I have definitely worked on that,” he said.
Wednesday vs. George Mason, 7 p.m. (Atlantic Ten Network)
Saturday at Richmond, 6 p.m. (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
Tuesday at Rhode Island, 7 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
La Salle redshirt junior guard Pookie Powell is enjoying a strong year, and what coach John Giannini likes the most is his creativity.
“Every team needs a player who can create something out of nothing, and Pookie does that really well,” Giannini said. “You need somebody who can make a play, and he has made so many for us.”
Powell, who began his career at Memphis, entered Tuesday’s game against Rhode Island averaging 16.8 points and 4.1 assists. He was averaging 36.46 minutes, which entering Tuesday was among the top 25 in the country.
“I think he is one of the tougher guards to cover not only in the Atlantic Ten but in the nation,” Giannini said.
Saturday at Fordham, 4 p.m.
Drexel 6-8 senior Austin Williams, who recently returned to the lineup after suffering a lower leg injury, played only 15 minutes in Thursday’s loss at Northeastern and was sidelined for Saturday’s defeat at Hofstra.
Whether he plays in Thursday’s rivalry game against visiting Delaware is still uncertain. The Dragons have just two regular-season games left.
“We will get him out there when the medical staff feels it is best, whether that is this week or in the conference tournament,” Drexel coach Zach Spiker said Tuesday on the Colonial Athletic Association conference call.
Entering Tuesday, Williams was ninth nationally in blocked shots, averaging 2.89.
Thursday vs. Delaware, 7 p.m.
Saturday vs. U. North Carolina Wilmington, 4 p.m.