It’s nearly 24 hours later and I’m not really sure what to think about yesterday’s 69-62 loss to Kansas in Lawrence.
On one hand, the Owls did something that a lot of teams just don’t do in the Phog Allen Fieldhouse: control the tempo for long stretches en route to having a lead with under three minutes to go.
On the other hand, the Owls had oh so many opportunities and they just couldn’t get it done. Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson went 0-for-9 from the field while Scootie Randall went 1-for-7. They found other ways to contribute, though, combining to pull down 16 rebounds but their inability to hit the big shot down the stretch contributed to the Owls’ downfall.
At the end of the day, this will end up being a good loss for Temple. In a perfect world they would’ve gone 2-1 against the Duke-Syracuse-Kansas trio but 1-2 with a close loss in a true road game against a top 10 team is really the next best scenario.
The two biggest things to take away from yesterday’s game is the fact that Anthony Lee played 34 minutes and only committed three personal fouls and that Will Cummings played perhaps his best game as a Temple Owl.
Lee scored 11 points and pulled down seven rebounds while matched up against the uber-tough post player Jeff Withey. While he didn’t blow up the way he did against Syracuse earlier this season or Duke last year, Lee acquitted himself nicely and has really established himself as a legitimate front court player for the Owls. Lee could have a field day in the Atlantic 10 as there aren’t too many players in the conference that matchup with the skills that he brings to the table.
Cummings played scored 11 points, grabbed three rebounds and handed out three assists in 27 minutes on the court. As the season has progressed so has Cummings. While he may never be the number one or two option on offense, Cummings has shown that he is able to run the point competently and that he has the ability to push it down the court when the Owls get out in transition.
However, it was Cummings who committed the turnover – one of only four by the Owls – that lead to Kansas retaking the lead for good in final minutes of the game. You can’t kill the kid, though, as he played his tail off.
And Khalif Wyatt? What can you say about a kid like him? He’s a red light player who gets it done on the biggest stages. Not bad for a two-star recruit from Norristown.
Temple is back in action on Thursday night against the down but always dangerous Xavier Musketeers at the Cintas Center. The Owls must be wary of the classic letdown as they’ll need to scrape together every possible win in Atlantic 10 play.