Texas Tops Temple

Longhorn basketball players and coaches said earlier this week that the Temple game was a "must-win." And win the Longhorns did, toppling Temple 77-65 behind 23 points from J'Covan Brown.

When Texas built its schedule, the Longhorns thought they had a pretty tough slate. But UCLA underperformed, and Texas dropped games against N.C. State and Oregon State that the Longhorns should have won. That meant that Texas still needed a signature non-conference win, and had just two options left: Saturday's contest against the Owls, or a difficult (to say the least) road trip to North Carolina. Obviously, the Temple game stood out as the likelier option.

But that didn't mean that the game was going to be easy. Texas struggled at times with Temple's length and fell behind by eight at one point. Temple led for most of the first half before the Longhorns made their run, tying the game shortly before halftime at 31-all. Temple led by three at 34-31 after Khalif Wyatt drilled a three-pointer as time expired.

"In the first half, we looked like a team that hadn't even practiced," said Texas coach Rick Barnes. "We had guys shooting three-pointers who shouldn't be shooting threes. The very first play of the game, we didn't execute. I told them at halftime that they (Temple) didn't do anything that we didn't share on tape and that they didn't practice."

The game went back-and-forth until Myck Kabongo hit a layup with 13:31 left to play. That gave the Longhorns a 48-47 advantage, a lead they never gave up again. Texas went on a 10-2 run, pushing the Longhorn lead to nine points, and Texas kept it between six and 16 points the rest of the way.

Texas out-rebounded Temple by an astounding 48-23 margin, with Clint Chapman (13), Jaylen Bond (8), Sheldon McClellan (8), and Jonathan Holmes (6) all topping Temple's top board-grabber.

"That hurt me there," said Temple coach Fran Dunphy. "We did not do a very good job. Obviously, we were a little bit outsized but that is not nearly the excuse we need. We were just not as tough or aggressive as they were. I know Jaylen Bond very well. You could just see him and feel him understanding how to get to the rim on missed shots. He has got that knack and size and strength for rebounding. Not only is it Jaylen but it's also a number of their guys. They did a great job on the glass in the second half."

Brown paced the Longhorns with 23 points. Kabongo added 18 points, five rebounds and three assists. Bond was the only other Longhorn in double-figures, scoring 12.

"We had to adjust," Brown said. "We're not used to teams switching everything on us. So, we just had to find our angles. [Clint] Chapman and Jaylen [Bond] and Jonathan [Holmes], they found me cutting to the rim. We've just got to get used to it. When it gets to conference play, this is when everybody starts switching on us. We just need to find angles."

Wyatt led all scorers with 24. Ramone Moore had 13.

Temple fell to 6-3 with the result. Texas (9-2) will play at North Carolina on Wednesday, with the game tipping at 6 p.m.

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