By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – To say it has been a frustrating season to this point for the Temple Owls would be putting it mildly.
As they get ready to host Rutgers on Wednesday night, the Owls sit at 5-13 (0-7 in the American Athletic Conference) and they have dropped eight straight games. Most recently they lost at home to #13 Cincinnati, 80-76. In that game, the Owls battled back from a 19-point, second-half deficit to tie the game at 76 late, only to see the Bearcats score the final four points to grab the win. That has been a common theme during Temple losses this season: they battle, the game is close late, but the Owls fall just short.
“We’ve put ourselves in decent situations, but haven’t been able to get over the hump,” Temple head coach Fran Dunphy tells KYW Newsradio. “It’s a constant process and hopefully we can continue to make some strides and turn this thing around a little bit.”
This eight-game losing streak actually started against the Scarlet Knights. Back on New Year’s Day, Temple lost in Piscataway, 71-66. In that game, Rutgers held the Owls to just 33% shooting from the field.
“Anytime that you don’t shoot it well, I think the defense is pretty good,” Dunphy says. “I think their defense was very tuned in to what we were doing. We actually had a very good effort by Quenton DeCosey in the first half, who made a lot of shots (finished with 25 points) and then Dalton Pepper (19 points) made a lot of shots in the second half. But we need more contributions from more people, certainly from the offensive end of things.”
Rutgers is 8-12 this season, 2-5 in the AAC. They have lost five of six since beating the Owls, but Dunphy thinks their arrow is pointing up.
“They have good balance at this point,” Dunphy says. “(Redshirt junior forward) Kadeem Jack is playing very well at this point. (Junior guard) Myles Mack has done a really good job. The first game we played, (guard Jerome) Seagears did not play. So my concern is how he will impact the game, we did not experience him on a first hand basis. So that’s another body we have to concern ourselves with, and he is playing at a very high level as well. I just like their team, I like their balance. They’ve done a good job of coming along this year.”
Mack leads Rutgers in scoring, pouring in 18 points a game. Jack had 18 points in the first meeting with the Owls.
Temple and Rutgers will tip-off at 7:00pm at the Liacouras Center on Wednesday night.
You can follow Matt on twitter @mattleonkyw.