By Sean Kennedy
Louisville 88, Temple 66
Another disappointing defensive effort marked another setback in what is arguably the worst season the Owls have ever had. Per ESPN Stats & Information, this year marks the first time in school history Temple has lost 20 games, and few losses ever came as quickly. The Cardinals jumped out to a 13-2 lead and never looked back, finishing the contest 53% from the field. The combined scoring efforts of Russ Smith, Montrezl Harrell, and Terry Rozier were more than the Owls could handle on the evening as each player was already in double figures by halftime. Smith finished with a game-high 24 points, Harrell with 21, and the freshman Rozier a career-high 19, with each Cardinal shooting at least 66% from the floor.
The Owls received a valient effort from point guard Will Cummings, who had a stellar first half with 13 points, eventually finishing with 18 and 5 steals. However, Temple was plagued by 17 turnovers against a Louisville team that’s one of the best-thieving teams in the nation, and with the Owls only hitting 4 of their 19 three-point attempts, there was no way they were going to chip away at the deficit. One silver lining for Temple is that they have finally reached the more manageable portion of their schedule, as their final three games are all against teams below .500 in conference play.
7:30 PM: Pennsylvania (7-16, 4-5 Ivy) vs. Brown (14-10, 6-4 Ivy)
The Quakers ended a three-game skid last weekend against Dartmouth and will now look to squash the dwindling postseason hopes of Brown. Now three games out of first with 4 to play, the Bears are for all intensive purposes out of the postseason picture, but a loss to Penn tonight would officially eliminate them. The boys from Rhode Island have alternated wins and losses over their last 7 games, so this would be a loss if you don’t believe in discrete outcomes.
Penn lost in Rhode Island two weeks ago despite receiving a huge performance down low from Darien Nelson-Henry who had 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 blocks. Penn’s downfall was the 22 turnovers they committed, combined with a couple huge threes from Brown leading scorer Sean McGonagill in the closing minutes. As Penn experienced last game, McGonagill is an ace three-pointer shooter at 41%, and the senior actually set the school-record for career threes last weekend. Second-leading scorer and leading rebounder Rafael Maia has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury, but is expected to be back in action tonight against the Quakers. Penn is as good a team as the Bears when they don’t kill themselves with turnovers; we’ll see if they have better ball security on display tonight.