By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Temple Owls will look to pick up their first conference win of the season on Wednesday when they visit SMU.

The Owls are 9-6 overall, but they have gotten off to an 0-2 start in American Athletic Conference action. A 56-50 loss to #22 Cincinnati on December 28th was followed up by a 77-53 road loss against Central Florida. In that game against the Knights, the Owls just got off to an awful start, trailing 38-11 at the half.

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“We have not shot it well the last couple of games,” Temple head coach Fran Dunphy tells KYW Newsradio. “Cincinnati we had our chances and we had some open looks late and opportunities late, we did not finish well. Then, Saturday at UCF, we just could not make a shot early and got way behind. We need to correct that, we need to play better. I think our defense is improved, but our offense, we need to execute much better than we have been and finish as well.”

Listen to the entire interview with Temple’s Fran Dunphy:

 

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The Owls will face a big challenge in Wednesday’s game against the Mustangs. SMU is 12-3 on the season (2-0 in the American).

“They’ve won eight in a row against some really good basketball teams,” Dunphy says. “They have talent, they have experience. They have the right mix of inside and outside game. They are efficient with everything they do, they are outstanding on the defensive end and they play well offensively.”

Last season, these teams met at the Liacouras Center on January 24th and the Owls picked up an 89-80 win. It was the first loss of the season for the Mustangs (18-0 heading in) who were ranked in the top ten at the time. The all-time series between the two teams is even at 4-4.

Dunphy knows this will be a tough match-up, especially considering that SMU is 9-0 at home this season.

“It’s a great, great test for us in a difficult environment to play but that’s what you want,” Dunphy says. “You want to see what your team is made of and this will certainly give us a phenomenal challenge on Wednesday.”

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Wednesday night’s game will tip off at 9:00pm in Dallas.