HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — The last time Temple and Cincinnati met, the game was decided in the final second.
On Wednesday night, the Owls faded in the game’s first 10 minutes.
After losing a 55-53 heartbreaker to Cincinnati three weeks ago, Temple came into BB&T Arena looking for redemption. On the Bearcats’ home court this time, though, the Owls were no match for Cincinnati in a 75-42 loss.
“I don’t think we came out with the same energy we had last time,” forward J.P. Moorman II said. “I definitely felt like we could have been more competitive. It was all heart, in the end. They just played tougher and stronger than us and that was the difference.”
No. 9 Cincinnati kept intact its 37-game home win streak — the longest in the nation. The Owls, despite coming off of two close conference wins, looked closer to the team that lost by 21 to UCF earlier this month.
Temple (10-10, 2-6 American Athletic Conference) and Cincinnati (18-2, 7-0) briefly traded leads before the Bearcats’ defense kicked in. Cincinnati, second in the country in scoring defense, consistently forced Temple to pass around the perimeter and shoot off balance. The Owls made just 1 of 13 field goals midway through the half as the Bearcats built a steady lead.
“We needed to pound the ball inside a little bit more, but they do a good job of setting their defense, and we didn’t move the basketball nearly enough,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. “When we did get open shots, we didn’t knock them down, and that was probably a key for us, too.”
The Owls went into halftime down, 35-19, a season low, and finished the half with more turnovers (nine) than baskets (eight).
After halftime, Temple turned the ball over five more times in the first five minutes to discourage any momentum. The Bearcats led by as much as 34 in the second half, and Temple finished with a season-high 20 turnovers.
No Temple players managed to score in double digits. Guard Quinton Rose and center Ernest Aflakpui finished with a team-high seven points each. Guard Shizz Alston Jr. was quiet, with no points in the first half and four points total, despite averaging 13.3 points per game entering Wednesday night.
Cincinnati forward Gary Clark finished with a team-high 17 points. Guard Jarron Cumberland and forward Kyle Washington finished with 13 points each for the Bearcats, before both teams played their reserves for the last 10 minutes of the game.
“It’s one of those games where you hang your head a little bit and say we have to do better,” Dunphy said. “We have a new slate on Sunday against a UConn team who’s looking for a win, just like we are, and we have to be ready to go.”