Cummings scores 31 but Temple loses

Posted: January 06, 2014

ORLANDO - For all his production on the offensive end, Will Cummings' most vivid memory about Saturday's return to his native Florida might be a fateful split second as he slid along the CFE Arena floor.

With Temple trailing Central Florida by two and the ball rolling loose near midcourt, Cummings hit the floor just as the ball went off a UCF player's hand as the clock ticked under 20 seconds.

His forearm, though, dragged over the ball just before it crossed out of bounds. Possession UCF.

"That was a tough one," Cummings said after the 78-76 loss, Temple's second setback in as many American Athletic Conference games. "You'd love to get that play back, and you can't really get it back."

It was a harsh blow for a team that has struggled in the waning moments of close games this season. And it put a damper on what had otherwise been a successful trip home for the Jacksonville native.

Cummings poured in a career-high 31 points, including a 20-point first half that brought Temple back from a disastrous start. But the Owls (5-7) couldn't come up with enough complementary scoring and came up short when they needed a critical defensive stop.

"We need to get stops at certain times and score at others," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "But the encouraging thing is we're right where we need to be at the end."

On three occasions in the final two minutes, the Owls knocked the ball loose with the chance to tie the game. The first time, a tie-up gave possession back to UCF.

On UCF's next possession, the Knights appeared to have committed a 10-second violation when Dalton Pepper knocked the ball loose. But the whistle came a second too early, and UCF kept the ball on an inbounds play.

Then came Cummings' fateful dive near the sideline.

Cummings' 31 points shattered his previous career best, a 23-point outing last month against LIU-Brooklyn. With about 30 friends and family making the three-hour drive from Jacksonville, he went 9 for 14 from the floor, hitting all three three-point attempts.

Quenton DeCosey added 14 points, and Anthony Lee had 12 for Temple, which lost big man Mark Williams midway through the first half with a sprained left ankle.

Isaiah Sykes led UCF (9-4, 1-1) with 23 points.

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