Temple ended SMU’s home winning streak at 33 Wednesday night, beating the Mustangs 66-64.
While everyone in the stands in Moody had that streak on their minds, head coach Tim Jankovich did not.
“We never talked about the streak,” Jankovich said after the loss.
SMU battled back from a 13-point deficit in the second half, but the Owls tied the game with just 54 seconds left in the game on a jumpshot by Obi Enechionyia. SMU was only able to get off one more shot the rest of the game, a difficult floater from Shake Milton that fell short of the rim. Jankovich tried to get his team to call a time-out to get two shots off in the remaining seconds, but the players could not hear him.
Temple, which was 0-4 in conference play, won the game on a Josh Brown bucket that put Temple up by two with just 1.3 seconds remaining. SMU was not able to get off a shot in the sparse time left.
The Mustangs did not shoot well. SMU hit just 42 percent of its field goal attempts for the game and shot 53 percent from the free-throw line. Eight missed Mustang free throws did damage in the two-point loss.
“You can look back on some of our losses and say just that was the reason,” Coach Jankovich said of the team’s poor free-throw shooting. “If we only did better in that area, we probably could have won two or three more games. But we didn’t.”
Temple guard Quinton Rose led the way for the Owls, tallying 23 points. The Mustangs did find a way to shut him down late in the game. Rose last scored with 10:19 left. He went cold, committing three turnovers and missing a free-throw down the stretch. That lapse allowed the Mustangs to weather the storm and come back on a 13-5 run. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough. Obi Enechionyia added 16 points and seven rebounds for Temple.
Shake Milton connected with Jarrey Foster for two thunderous alley-oops in the second half. Milton lead all scorers with 25 on an efficient 8-12 from the field and added five rebounds and five assists. Foster and Ben Emelogu had 11 points apiece. The leading rebounder for the Mustangs was the guard Jimmy Whitt with nine boards.
Everett Ray was did not play for the Mustangs. Jankovich mentioned that he would have liked to give him and Ethan Chargois more minutes, but didn’t feel comfortable having big men out there.
“It was a small-ball game,” Jankovich said. “You can’t ask big guys to chase guards.”
The Mustangs have now lost three straight. They will now travel to Wichita State to play a road game against the No. 5 Shockers next Wednesday.