By Harry Allison
It’s only Jan. 8 and the once-hopeful Temple Owls’ season is cratering.
Davon Griffin scored 15 points and UCF’s top-10 ranked defense smothered Temple 60-39 for the Owls’ fifth straight loss..
Griffin made a trio of 3-pointers with Ceasar DeJesus adding 13 points and Tacko Fall nine rebounds to go with seven points for UCF (12-4, 3-1 American Athletic), which won for the eighth time in nine games.
Nate Pierre-Louis led Temple with 13 points. The Owls shot only 32 percent and made just 4 of 22 3-point tries against a Knights defense that came in ranked sixth nationally, holding opponents to 60.2 points per game. Temple had just one free-throw attempt.
The Owls trailed 36-31 in the second half before going without a point for over 10 1/2 minutes, dropping behind by 19 points with 4:41 to go. The Knights’ lead grew to as many as 23 points late.
Temple led for a seven-minute stretch in the first half before a 3-pointer by Griffin started a 14-0 run that ended with UCF leading by 10 on its way to a 29-22 advantage at halftime.
Temple (7-8, 0-4) has lost five straight.