Bo Zeigler threw down an authoritative alley-oop dunk off Corey Allen Jr.’s lob to bring USF within eight with 5:54 to play.
Like most games so far for the Bulls (7-16, 1-9) in 2015, Temple was able to pull away, closing the game out on a 9-2 run to give the Owls (16-7, 7-3) a 61-48 victory Wednesday in the Sun Dome, handing the Bulls their eighth consecutive loss.
“We were still there in the second half, within a few possessions; just hit a lull for about six minutes where we just couldn’t get a basket,” USF coach Orlando Antigua said. “Some of it had to do with their defense, some of it had to do with us getting opportunities and missing some.”
USF held an eight-point lead with just over five minutes remaining in the first half, but allowed Temple to go on a 10-3 run to end the half, cutting the lead to just one.
“One thing I think we wanted to take away that they beat us with in the first game was the offensive rebounds,” Antigua said. “We gave them 18 offensive rebounds that first game and for what we did today, holding them to 13 and being even with them on the boards.”
Part of that success was, in part, due to freshman center Rueben Guerrero, who pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds and four blocks in the loss.
“(Guerrero’s development) has been huge,” Antigua said. “He’s been getting better every game and we’re excited about his development and his growth. He goes out tonight against one of the top rebounders in the conference and pulls down 14 rebounds. He had six offensive, which was huge because we needed to find extra possessions.”
Shots weren’t falling for the Bulls, as they shot 34.5 percent from the field. In the first half, the Bulls held the Owls under 30 percent, but allowed them to make 41.9 percent of their shots in the second.
Allen took over in the first half, scoring 10 points, but was slowed in the second. Playing every minute of the game, the senior guard accounted for 16 points and three assists with redshirt junior Anthony Collins in foul trouble.
“(In the first half), we were executing, playing defense, closing out possessions with a rebound, you know, doing the little things,” Allen said. “When we did the little things, we kept building the lead, and once we stopped doing them, we saw the decline.”
Not to be forgotten in the loss, Collins surpassed Chucky Atkins for the third-most assists in school history with 520.
The Bulls will travel to play Cincinnati on Saturday at 8 p.m. in hopes of ending this losing streak and securing only their second conference win.