Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
Temple did everything right against No. 6 Kansas except make their shots, and it cost them in a 69-62 loss at Allen Fieldhouse on Sunday afternoon.
Khalif Wyatt had 26 points as Temple’s senior guard continues to show up big in the teams’ biggest games, but the rest of his team left him hanging. Wyatt was 8-for-19, including 3-of-8 from three, and he made all seven of his free-throw attempts.
The Owls shot 19-of-63 (30.2 percent) from the floor, including an 0-for-9 performance by Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson and a 1-of-7 showing by Scootie Randall. Subtracting Wyatt’s night, they were just 11-of-44 (25.0 percent).
Besides that, it was a well-played game on the part of the visiting squad, who turned the ball over just three times (against 14 forced), stayed out of foul trouble (15 team fouls) and for the most part controlled the tempo even in one of the toughest venues in the country against a team that has now won 63 consecutive non-conference home games.
This was Temple’s third game against a top-10 opponent; they lost to then-No. 2 Duke 90-67 back on Dec. 8 but beat then-No. 3 Syracuse on Dec. 22 in a 83-79 thrilled at Madison Square Garden.
Kansas center Jeff Withey played a big part in the Jayhawks’ defensive effort, contributing nine blocks along with his eight points and 11 rebounds.
Anthony Lee held his own in the middle for Temple, scoring 11 points as the only Owl besides Wyatt in double figures; he also had seven rebounds.
Temple (10-3, 0-0 Atlantic 10) led for much of the second half after trailing by 11 early and six at halftime, taking the lead with 14:14 remaining in the game on a pair of Wyatt free-throws and holding it until a Ben McLemore dunk made it 58-57 Kansas with 2:50 remaining.
Senior Travis Releford, who struggled with foul issues for much of the game, put the game out of reach with 37 seconds remaining with a 3-pointer from the right wing that put Kansas (12-1, 0-0 Big 12) up 65-58.
Temple heads into A-10 play on Thursday with a trip to Xavier.