Two of the things that visiting teams have to do when they visit Allen Fieldhouse are take care of the basketball and withstand the Kansas run that’s bound to come.
Temple was able to do that, turning the ball over just three times the entire game and going on a 15-3 run in the second half to turn a 38-27 deficit into a 42-41 lead.
The problem for Fran Dunphy’s Owls: they went cold at the wrong time and it cost them the game.
No. 6 Kansas moved its home court win streak to 30 with the 69-62 victory, with Temple going nearly four and a half minutes without a field goal during the final five minutes of play.
Outside of six Kevin Young free throws the Jayhawks made just two field goals during that stretch but they were big ones: a Ben McLemore dunk with 2:57 remaining to give them a 57-56 lead they wouldn’t relinquish and a Travis Releford three-pointer with 38 seconds to go.
Young led the Jayhawks with 16 points and ten rebounds, and his performance helped make up for Jeff Withey being the focal point of Temple’s defending throughout the game. Withey grabbed 11 rebounds but finished 3-of-10 from the field, scoring eight points.
But Withey’s shooting doesn’t tell the whole story as the 7-footer blocked nine shots on the afternoon. “We were at the rim a lot late, and Withey just would not let us finish,” Temple head coach Fran Dunphy lamented after the game.
Temple shot 19-of-63 (30.2%) from the field, which includes a 4-of-17 day from beyond the arc. When a team shoots that poorly the low number of turnovers doesn’t have the impact it would have if the Owls were to shoot closer to their season average (41.6%).
Khalif Wyatt led all scorers with 26 points and also grabbed eight rebounds but after making a pair of free throws to give the Owls a 54-50 lead with 6:52 remaining the senior wouldn’t score again until there were just 25 seconds left on the clock.
Next up for the Owls is their Atlantic 10 opener at Xavier on Thursday, and the Jayhawks will begin their run at yet another Big 12 title when Iowa State visits Lawrence Wednesday night.