Temple pulls away to 77-70 win over No. 22 Cincinnati
CINCINNATI (AP) Temple dominated the closing minutes, shot 50 percent from the field and matched its season high with 10 3-pointers.
All of which left Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin stewing.
With their inconsistent defense, the 22nd-ranked Bearcats don't look like a typical Cincinnati team.
Quenton DeCosey scored 19 points and hit three free throws in the closing seconds, helping Temple pull away to a 77-70 victory on Tuesday, the Owls' first win over a ranked team this season.
Temple (6-5, 1-0 American Athletic) had lost its three previous games against Top 25 teams – North Carolina, Butler and Utah – but closed the game with an 11-5 run to get the breakthrough win.
The Bearcats (10-4, 0-1) have dropped four of their past seven games, including back-to-back losses against Iowa State and Temple on their home floor. Cincinnati has three home losses in December for the first time in eight years.
''I'd like to apologize to all of our former players that have to watch our guys play with that type of defensive effort,'' Cronin said. ''It's an embarrassment. It's my fault, and I mean that.
''Temple made some shots, give them credit. But our defensive effort is porous, lazy. Our problem is we're just not a good defensive team right now. We lack a lot of toughness. We don't do anything that's hard.''
Temple broke open a close game that included 11 ties and 14 lead changes. Daniel Dingle and Devin Coleman hit back-to-back 3s that put the Owls up 73-65 with 1:13 to go, and DeCosey made three free throws in the final 25 seconds to finish it off.
Temple went 10 of 22 from beyond the arc, matching its season high for 3-pointers made in a game.
''We just don't understand that being Cincinnati and being blessed to be in the Top 25 that we've got to be ready to play every game,'' said Troy Caupain, who led the Bearcats with a season-high 19 points. ''That's something we've been lacking, energy for all 40 minutes. It's held us back.''
The Owls also beat Cincinnati 75-59 last February in Philadelphia, ending the Bearcats' streak of holding 28 consecutive opponents under 70 points. In the rematch, the Bearcats came out aggressive and pulled ahead 14-7, their biggest lead of the game.
DeCosey had a pair of free throws and a layup during an 8-2 spurt that gave the Owls their biggest lead of the half 39-34. There were 10 lead changes in the half, which ended with Temple ahead 39-37.
The Owls shot 57 percent from the field in the opening half, including 5 of 11 from beyond the arc.
''We came out making shots early and stayed with it,'' Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. ''It almost looks like you know what you're doing when the ball goes in the basket. Again, a very good win for us.''
Neither team could put a run together at the start of the second half. There were five ties in the first 8 minutes. DeCosey was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer and made all of the free throws for a 58-53 lead midway through the half. The Owls then missed six of seven shots, allowing Cincinnati to stay close until the final minutes.
Temple: The Owls made a season-high 30 free throws – in 38 attempts – in their win over Delaware State on Dec. 19. Against Cincinnati, they missed their first four and finished 15 of 22.
Cincinnati: Farad Cobb leads the AAC with 36 3-pointers, shooting 45.9 percent from beyond the arc. He was 2 of 6 on Tuesday.
Temple: The Owls host Houston on Saturday.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats host Tulsa on Saturday.