Mon, 01 Mar 2021

Temple, Tulsa looking for bounce-back win

Field Level Media
26 Jan 2021, 12:55 GMT+10

Tulsa was originally scheduled to play at Temple on March 2. However, each team sustained a COVID-19 postponement of its previously scheduled American Athletic Conference game, so the league decided to engage in some creative schedule gymnastics.

As a result, the Golden Hurricane and Owls will instead play on Tuesday in Philadelphia, enabling both to avoid long layoffs as well as giving them both a chance to wash out the taste of a lopsided loss to No. 6 Houston.

Temple (3-4, 2-4 AAC) took a 68-51 beating at the Cougars' hands Saturday in Philly, while Tulsa (8-5, 5-3) absorbed an 86-59 blowout in Houston on Wednesday night. That one seemed inevitable, given that the Golden Hurricane handed the Cougars their only loss on Dec. 29.

But Tulsa coach Frank Haith told the Tulsa World that he thought his team could have competed better than it did.

"They kicked our butts," he said. "I thought in the first couple of minutes of the ball game, they set the tone. They were way tougher and more physical and played faster. We just didn't compete like you needed to compete to beat a team like this on the road."

Brandon Rachal leads the Golden Hurricane with 14.8 points per game and also paces the team in rebounding at 6.8. Rachal supplied 18 points at Houston, but there wasn't nearly enough help to threaten the AAC's top team.

Tulsa has actually been solid on defense, aside from Wednesday night's rout, permitting opponents to make less than 38 percent from the field and allowing only 62.8 ppg.

As for the Owls, they were buried by two big first half runs against the Cougars. Temple started the game by falling behind 15-5, and after it pulled within six and appeared to have found traction, Houston ripped off a 15-2 spurt to take an insurmountable 34-15 advantage.

"We played nowhere near where we're capable of," Owls coach Aaron McKie said. "You don't have to play a perfect game, but you can't come out and turn the ball over like we did."

Damian Dunn has been Temple's most consistent source of offense, averaging 14.6 points per game. But he's made only 33.3 percent of his field-goal attempts.

The Golden Hurricane own an 8-3 lead in the series, winning both games last season.

--Field Level Media

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