Temple men lose seventh straight
HARTFORD, Conn. - Neither the absence of one of Connecticut's players nor the return of one of Temple's top players could help the Owls snap their losing streak.
Temple guard Will Cummings, who had missed the previous two games with concussion symptoms, returned and led the Owls with 20 points, but it was not enough, as they fell to UConn, 90-66, last night to lose their seventh in a row.
"I thought Cummings could do about what he could do tonight," Owls coach Fran Dunphy said.
The Huskies were without point guard Ryan Boatright, who was traveling for the funeral of his 20-year-old cousin Arin Williams, who was shot and killed a week ago in Boatright's hometown of Aurora, Ill. Williams' mother died in childbirth, and he and Boatright were raised as brothers in Boatright's home.
DeAndre Daniels scored a career-high 31 points and Shabazz Napier added 27 to lead UConn in the first meeting between the schools in 49 years.
Daniels, a junior forward, also grabbed 12 rebounds for his fourth career double-double. Napier had seven rebounds and dished out six assists for the Huskies (15-4, 3-3 American Athletic Conference), who hit 53 percent of their shots, and were 12-for-23 from three-point range.
Temple (5-12, 0-6) is alone in last place in the conference.
"We needed to manage the game a little better," Dunphy said. "They had a lot of firepower; we got a little bit of firepower back when Cummings was ready to play, but we really needed to manage the game better on a night like tonight."
The game was played in front of fewer than 5,000 fans at the 16,000-seat XL Center in Hartford, as a snowstorm kept many people at home.
Anthony Lee had 14 points and Dalton Pepper and Quenton DeCosey added 12 each for the Owls, who host Cincinnati at the Liacouras Center on Sunday afternoon at 4 o'clock.
Boatright had been averaging just over 12 points and just under four assists per game. He had played in 63 straight games before Tuesday and made 48 consecutive starts.
But the absence of UConn's point guard and the return of Temple's had little impact on the outcome.
Cummings, who was averaging 16 points and four assists, hit his first shot, a three-pointer from the corner, and was the lone bright spot for the Owls.
Anthony Lee, the leading rebounder in the conference, added 14 points for Temple but did not have any rebounds against UConn.
"Typically, he is a very good rebounder for us," Dunphy said.
Napier, who had a career-high 30 on Saturday against Louisville, had 12 points in the first 6 minutes of this one. He led UConn on a 12-3 run and an early 18-11 advantage. The lead only grew from there.
The Huskies hit 10 of their first 15 shots from the floor, and Napier his six of his eight first half shots.
A 14-0 run opened the lead to 32-16. Napier sat with his second foul with just under 8 minutes left in the half and the Huskies holding that lead.
UConn was outscored by two points the rest of the half and went into the break up 48-34.
Napier, Daniels and Niels Giffey each hit three-pointers coming out of the break to bring the lead over 20 points and they were not threatened after that.
A dunk by Daniels with just under 4 minutes remaining eclipsed his previous career high of 26 points, and put the Huskies up 86-63. They cruised from there.
Freshman Terrence Samuel played 15 minutes in Boatright's absence. It was just the 11th game this season he has seen action. He had two points.
Connecticut was coming off a 12 point loss at home to No. 12 Louisville, which snapped a three-game winning streak.
Temple, which came in with four players averaging 14 or more points per game, was held 10 points under its season average.
The Owls' losing streak is the longest since the 2001-02 season.
The game was the first between the storied programs since 1965, a 71-60 UConn win.
It was a quiet building. The school did not run busses from the campus, some 30 miles away, because of the weather. The UConn cheerleaders and dance team also did not make the trip.