The Tempele Owls (10-3) have had a great season thus far and looked to build on it with a win against the No. 6 Kansas Jayhawks (12-1). Even with senior guard Khalif Wyatt (26 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals) leading the charge they were still unable to come out with a victory, falling 69-62. This is Temple’s 3rd game against a top 10 opponent and they had to feel confident coming in after beating No. 3 Syracuse.
The game was not looking up for the Owls as they trailed 35-27 at the end of the 1st half. Ben McLemore, Kansas’ star freshman, had a big first half which helped propel the Jayhawks.
Kansas’ seniors, Elijah Johnson, Kevin Young, and Travis Releford, however, did not play well in the beginning of the second half. They turned the ball over, took bad shots, and found themselves in foul trouble. This allowed Temple to come back. After being down by 11, a Khalif Wyatt three gave Temple the 1 point lead. In the midst of this comeback, Wyatt scored 11 straight points for his team. His strength, his ability to penetrate into the lane, and his shooting ability is what makes him special. He cannot do everything for this team every play, but that’s what they are expecting of him.
This resulted in poor shot selection when they really needed him to show up. Wyatt himself was quoted saying: “It came down to the last three, four minutes and we made a couple bad decisions, a couple bad shots.”. They shot 30% as a team on 19-63 from the field.
The Owls were also severely out-rebounded by 11. Young and center Jeff Withey combined for 21 Jayhawks rebounds. The leading rebounder for Temple was G/F Scootie Randall who had 9. In order to beat top tier teams, the Owls are going to have to rebound the basketball. Against Syracuse they were only out-rebounded by 1 which helped fuel the big upset.
As Wyatt stated, poor decisions and missed opportunities cost Temple this game. They continually settled for poor jump shots, especially Wyatt, whose poor second-half decision-making was epitomized by a transition three-pointer that clanged off the rim even with a wide open teammate streaking down the lane.
They had the opportunity to beat an elite team. In the end, it was Kansas’ senior guard Travis Relenford who changed this game. Although he was in foul trouble, he hit a big three point shot with 37 seconds left and 2 free throws to ice the game. He scored 5 of the team’s 7 points in the final 40 seconds.
Player of the Game: Kevin Young (Kansas)
Forward Kevin Young was the most outstanding player for Kansas. He recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, dominating the paint. He accounted for 1/3 of Kansas’ offensive rebounds. He also played aggressively and was 6-6 from the free throw line. This senior may have a bright professional future ahead of him if he can keep up this kind of play.