Temple loses again on Xavier's home court

Posted: January 11, 2013

CINCINNATI - Over the years, the Cintas Center has been a place of misery for Temple. It still is.

Xavier defeated the Owls, 57-52, in an Atlantic Ten opener Thursday night, extending Temple's losing streak to four games at the Musketeers' home arena.

Temple (10-4, 0-1) dropped to 1-6 in Xavier's dungeon of doom for A-10 teams.

The Musketeers (8-6, 1-0) have won 48 of 49 home conference games. But their latest victory came as a surprise.

Xavier came into the contest with a four-game losing streak. The Owls had a victory over then-third-ranked Syracuse under their belts before they nearly upset sixth-ranked Kansas at hostile Allen Fieldhouse.

Temple, however, looked nothing like it did in those games. The Owls were outhustled and often looked confused and frustrated against the Musketeers.

"I think they were just tougher than us down the stretch," said Temple swingman Scootie Randall, whose team went 5 minutes, 6 seconds without scoring in the second half. "Plays that we could have made, we didn't."

The Owls' best players - Randall and Khalif Wyatt - both struggled in the clutch.

Randall had a very streaky 13-point night. The fifth-year senior swingman scored 11 first-half points on 4-for-5 shooting. He was 3 of 4 on three-pointers at the time. But he made just 1 of 10 shots after halftime.

Randall's last shot came with Temple trailing by 55-52 with 15 seconds left.

The play was set up after Xavier's Dee Davis missed a pair of foul shots with 20 seconds left.

Will Cummings grabbed the defensive rebound. Shortly after Temple crossed midcourt, Randall misfired on a rushed, long-range three-pointer. Waiting for something easier or finding an open teammate would have been better options.

"We had time," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "It was an open look for us. Someone asked me: Should we have called timeout? I don't think so. I thought if we would have called a timeout, they would have been able to set their defense.

"He just rushed that shot, I thought. I thought he rushed a couple of balls. But we need Scootie to step up and make shots. There's no question."

After scoring 26 points against Kansas, Wyatt was held to five on 2-of-11 shooting. The senior guard, who likes to draw contact, was getting frustrated by the lack of calls while he was being whistled for offensive fouls.

"I play the same every time," Wyatt said. "But I guess different refs, different defenses. Some games you are going to get your way and some games you are not."

Contact Keith Pompey at kpompey@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @pompeysgridlock.

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