LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Temple is taking some valuable baggage home from its disappointing trip to Florida. David Loubeau scored 13 points, Naji Hibbert added 12 and Texas A&M beat the No. 21 Owls 54-51 Sunday in the consolation bracket of the Old Spice Classic.
“I think we learned a lot about our team,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. “I think what we learned was, we’re not as good as we were regarded early on. Can we get there? That’s the hope. We’re still a work in progress.”
Texas A&M (5-1) went ahead 52-51 when B.J. Holmes scored off a rebound with 18.5 seconds left. Temple (3-2) had gone up 51-50 when Ramone Moore made two free throws with just under a minute remaining.
After Temple’s Juan Fernandez missed an open late jumper, Khris Middleton made it 54-51 by hitting two free throws with 2.3 seconds to go.
“It’s such a fine line,” Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon said. “I mean, if the kid hits the shot, we’re not smiling. You feel like the world’s coming to an end. But he missed it, we got the rebound and we win the game.”
Fernandez and Lavoy Allen had 10 points apiece for Temple, which lost its opening game of the tournament to California 57-50 Thursday. One day later the Owls beat Georgia 65-58.
“What we take out of this is, we’ve got to work harder than we’ve been working, probably,” Dunphy said. “We’ve got to shoot the ball better. Our defense is pretty solid.
We’ve got a chance to be a good basketball team.”
Holmes hit a 3 and Hibbert had a pair of baskets as Texas A&M took a 37-27 advantage three minutes into the second half. Hibbert added a 3-pointer that extended the Aggies’ lead to 42-29 with 13 1/2 minutes left.
“I just had to do some soul-searching and try to stay confident in my game,” said Hibbert, who entered averaging 7.6 points off the bench.
Temple responded by scoring the next nine points to get within 42-38 at the 11-minute mark. Khalif Wyatt and Aaron Brown both hit 3’s during the stretch.
Wyatt made a free throw and then scored on a layup after missing a second shot from the line as Temple went ahead 47-46 with just under seven minutes to play.
Texas A&M took a 30-25 lead into halftime, getting nine points from Loubeau in a 22-10 run over the final eight minutes of the half. The Aggies hit 12 of 18 free throws during the opening 20 minutes, while Temple converted 7 of its 10 chances from the foul line.
Texas A&M has outscored it opponents 229-150 during the first half this season.
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