Without Will, There Is No Way

Owls' skid continues in blowout loss at Cincinnati.

It was just nine days ago that the Temple men's basketball team took a 12-4 record into a home game against Tulsa and then took a double-digit lead into the second half.

Then senior point guard Will Cummings came down awkwardly on his left leg, causing him to leave the game with a strained muscle and the Owls frittered away the advantage. Cummings played limited minutes off the bench against SMU Wednesday in a game the Owls also led late but lost.

And Saturday, the senior sat on the bench the entire game as Cincinnati outscored Temple, 55-25, in the second half on the way to an 83-54 victory. It had been just a one-point game at the half.

The Bearcats hit their first 11 shots of the second half and finished 20-of-26 (77 percent) to blow out the Owls, who fell to 12-7 overall, 3-3 in the American Athletic Conference. Cincinnati is 12-5, 3-2.

"They made some really tough shots," said Temple coach Fran Dunphy. "A couple times they took a shot where I thought 'shoot that shot,' because I didn't think it could go in, and it did. I think some of it was them, and some of it was us (defensively)."

Jermaine Sanders led four players in double figures for the Bearcats with 16 points.

Jesse Morgan led the Owls with 15 points and freshman Obi Enechionyia had his best day as an Owl, scoring 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting and blocking a pair of shots. Enechionyia was coming off the bench again after starting the last four games.

Quenton DeCosey was held to three points. Backup point guard Josh Brown, who started in Cummings' place, finished with four points, five assists and four turnovers in 36 minutes against the Bearcats' full-court pressure.

"He did a really good job against a lot of pressure, he was hounded the whole game," said Dunphy. "He battled as hard as he could."

The Owls return to play at the Liacouras Center Thursday against South Florida in a must-win game.

"We'll see if Will Cummings can play," said Dunphy. "He wasn't comfortable enough to go tonight. Hopefully USF won't shoot it like Cincinnati did in the second half. In the second half, they made everything they took."

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