It was a tale of two halves for USF on Saturday afternoon.
After entering halftime tied 30-30 with Temple, USF allowed the Owls to shoot 55 percent from the field and 7-of-13 from behind the arc in the second half, leading the way for a 73-55 Temple win in front of 2,576 fans at the Sun Dome. The loss was USF’s fifth in a row, while the win extended Temple’s win-streak to five.
“I felt, going into today’s game, Temple was playing just about as well as anybody in our league,” coach Brian Gregory said. “I was very pleased with where we were at in the first half. We moved the ball well, attacked their defense well, took care of the ball, rebounded it. I felt really good at halftime.”
Winger Payton Banks and forward Isaiah Manderson led the way for the Bulls in the first half, scoring eight and 10 points, while five different Bulls recorded at least one assist.
From the moment the second half started, however, the Bulls slipped.
Temple went on a 7-0 run to start the second period. The Bulls then hung around, trailing between nine-to-15 points, until they went on a seven-minute scoring drought that started with nine minutes to play.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t do any of that (move the ball well, attack their defense well, take care of the ball, rebound) in the second half,” Gregory said. “We were, at times, casual with the ball. Thirteen turnovers, minus-7 on the glass in the second half. Our Achilles heel, that have hurt us in so many games this year, that we’ve done a much better job of recently, came back.
“We’ve taken a lot of steps forward over the last five or six games, but in the second half today, we did not. We plateaued. We didn’t respond as well as we did in the past.”
Only Manderson finished the game with more than 10 points for USF, while he also lead the team with eight rebounds.
“I thought this was his (Manderson) best game as a Bull,” Gregory said. “His best game in his career was the other night at UConn, and I thought he exceeded that today.”
The Bulls’ leader in scoring and assists, point guard Stephan Jiggetts, only scored six points and recorded no assists in the loss. Before Saturday, Jiggetts had scored in double-digits for seven consecutive games. One potential reason for his down-game could be fatigue, as he’s played an average of 36 minutes per game the past seven games, the most on the team in that stretch.
“(The points are catching up to him) a little bit,” Gregory said. “He’s accustomed to scoring, there’s going to be nights where you’re not making shots, but you still have to find ways to impact the game. He just didn’t play as well as he’s been playing.”
The Bulls will be back in action when they travel to Orlando to face UCF on Wednesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.