Louisville takes it to Temple

Temple big man Anthony Lee scored 14. Louisville concentrated on stopping long-range threat Dalton Pepper, who shot 3 for 10 and scored just seven points.    
Temple big man Anthony Lee scored 14. Louisville concentrated on stopping long-range threat Dalton Pepper, who shot 3 for 10 and scored just seven points.     (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff)
Posted: February 16, 2014

The frustration continued Friday night for Temple and it's all encompassing - a harmful mix of poor defense and inefficient offense that looks particularly bad against the ranked teams of the American Athletic Conference.

Louisville, the nation's No. 13 team, came into the Liacouras Center and treated it like its home court. With sophomore center Montrezl Harrell dominating the paint at both ends, the Cardinals rolled to a snow-delayed 82-58 victory and handed the Owls their 12th loss in their last 13 games.

The first of five consecutive games against Top 25 opponents got so dreadful that Temple coach Fran Dunphy called three timeouts in the first half, and spent his final one with 11 minutes, 4 seconds remaining and his team down by 33 points.

"We've got to do a better job of stopping people," Dunphy said. "That's all on me. But is it frustrating? Yeah, it is. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't. But we've got to keep plugging away. We have a hell of a game on Sunday against a really good basketball team [Southern Methodist], so we've got to be ready to go."

For the fourth consecutive game, the Owls' opponent connected on better than 50 percent from the field, and for the third time in that stretch, Temple (6-17, 1-10 AAC) shot in the 30s. The Cardinals (20-4, 9-2) paid particular attention to Dalton Pepper, who shot 3 for 10 and scored seven points, more than 10 below his average.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino called a timeout with 11:12 left in the first half after Pepper connected for a three-point basket, and the senior didn't have another one the rest of the night.

"We wanted to really focus in and do a good job, especially on Pepper," Pitino said. "Cincinnati had a big lead [on Jan. 26], and he went off and it was anybody's game down the wire. So we wanted to really concentrate on shutting his shot selection down and the guys did a good job."

The 6-foot-8 Harrell scored a career-high 22 points to go with 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. He had 15 points in the first half as the Cardinals ran out to a 52-25 lead. The advantage grew to as high as 36 points in the second half.

Will Cummings led the Owls with 16 points and Anthony Lee added 14. Lee left the game midway through the second half after his left knee buckled on a rebound try. He said after the game he felt good enough to reenter, but Dunphy opted not to use him with a game coming up on Sunday afternoon.

Pitino said he empathizes with Dunphy, whom he called "one of the premier coaches in our game."

"They had a key injury," Pitino said, referring to sophomore Daniel Dingle. "They're coming off a terrific season and it's a rebuilding year.

He added that Dunphy is "just right now going through a difficult season. He'll get it going again, obviously because he is that good."


jjuliano@phillynews.com

@joejulesinq

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