Friday, February 20, 2015

Temple folds up late against SMU for second time

Dallas, TX -- Nic Moore helped SMU overcome another huge second-half hole against Temple.

The American Athletic Conference Player of the Year candidate Moore had 18 points and four assists as the 21st-ranked Mustangs defeated the Owls 67-58 on Thursday night.

SMU rallied from a 10-point second half deficit in this one after storming back from a 13-point gap in a 60-55 victory in Philadelphia on Jan. 14.

"We picked up defensively," SMU coach Larry Brown said of the second half. "We really got after them. We created some turnovers and got some easy shots."

Cannen Cunningham netted 10 points for the first-place Mustangs (22-5, 13-2 AAC), who have won four straight and 20 of their last 22 games.

Will Cummings was the lone double-digit scorer for Temple (19-8, 10-4), tallying 14 points to go with seven steals and seven assists.

The Owls had a seven-game winning streak snapped.

"We needed to do a better job defensively late in the game and we needed to move the ball a little bit better on offense," TU coach Fran Dunphy said.

Jesse Morgan nailed a deep right wing 3-pointer just in front of the SMU logo with the shot clock running down to stake Temple to a 50-49 edge with 4:38 left. Obi Enechionyia's right baseline dunk a possession later extended the lead to three, but the Mustangs ripped off the next 10 points seize control.

Ryan Manuel jumpstarted the surge with a right corner 3 and added another one from the same spot to cap it and give SMU a 59-52 cushion with 1:22 remaining.

The Owls never got closer than five the rest of the way as the Mustangs sunk all eight of their foul shots down the stretch.

Earlier, Morgan finished off a 9-2 Temple spurt with a 3 for a 28-19 advantage late in the opening half and the Owls led 33-25 at the break.

Jaylen Bond, who snatched six of his 11 rebounds on the offensive end, tipped home Cummings' layup attempt for a 37-27 Temple margin at the 16:05 mark of the second half.

Markus Kennedy's layup snapped an 8:37 SMU field-goal drought, with his basket as part of a trio of Mustangs buckets in less than a minute to whittle the gap to 39-36.

Moore scored the final eight points of a 17-4 SMU burst for a 46-43 edge with 8:33 to play, its first lead of the contest.

Notes: SMU shot 48.9 percent (21-of-43) from the field, while the Owls finished at 40.7 percent (22-of-54) ... Temple has dropped 23 straight road games against top-25 opponents ... The Mustangs were 5-of-11 from beyond the arc and 20- of-33 (60.6 percent) from the foul line ... ESPN color commentator Bobby Knight, at one point, became agitated at a student sitting in front of him blocking his view while calling the game.
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