Temple roars back but falls to Cincinnati

Temple's Anthony Lee (center) is sandwiched by Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick (left) and Ge'Lawn Guyn during the Bearcats' win.
Temple's Anthony Lee (center) is sandwiched by Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick (left) and Ge'Lawn Guyn during the Bearcats' win. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer)
Posted: January 28, 2014

The would-be hero was screaming as he ran downcourt pounding his chest, staring down the fans in the student section, who all had risen to their feet.

Dalton Pepper, the soft-spoken transfer who struggled last season but has emerged as Temple's leading scorer in his senior year, was at the peak of one of the finest performances of his career.

He scored a career-high 33 points, including 27 in the second half, to bring the Owls close, but not close enough, in an 80-76 loss to No. 15 Cincinnati in an American Athletic Conference game on Sunday afternoon at the Liacouras Center. It was Temple's eighth loss in a row, its longest losing streak since the 1975-76 season.

"I thought [this season] would be challenging, and it certainly has been," said coach Fran Dunphy, who has had several starters miss games with injuries. "We have to be as positive as we can be."

Pepper hit a three, his eighth of the game, with 36 seconds remaining to tie the score at 76, the culmination of a 19-5 run that brought Temple (5-13, 0-7) back into the game late in the second half.

But Cincinnati senior Sean Kilpatrick drew a foul on the ensuing possession and hit two free throws with seven seconds remaining to regain the lead for good for the Bearcats (19-2, 8-0). Josh Brown had a decent look at a short jumper for Temple on the other end, but it was blocked by Jermaine Sanders.

Kilpatrick finished the game with a career-high 29 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals.

Cincinnati led by 36-26 at halftime behind 16 points from Kilpatrick. The Owls shot just 26.9 percent, including 16.7 percent from three-point range.

Cincinnati shot 66.7 percent in the second half, when its lead grew to as much as 19, but Temple mounted a comeback behind Pepper's 27 points and seven three-pointers.

"Every game this year except for [last week's 90-66 loss at Connecticut] I felt like we could have won," Pepper said.

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