PHILADELPHIA - Temple men's basketball heads to American Athletic Conference foe UCF for a noon game on Sunday, Jan. 7 (CBSSN / 1210 AM WPHT), looking for its first league win. The Owls (7-7, 0-3) have suffered back-to-back closes losses to conference opponents Houston and #19/20 Cincinnati, while the Knights (11-4, 2-1) have won two straight and seven of their last eight.
> Temple is still looking for its first American Athletic Conference win after suffering back-to-back close losses in its last two games, falling 76-73 at Houston (12/30) and 55-53 in a heartbreaker at home vs. #19/20 Cincinnati (1/4).
> The Owls led for the vast majority of their game vs. Cincinnati, but the Bearcats surged in the final minutes and got a last-second long jumper from Jacob Evans for the win. Cincinnati's 55 points tied the least number of points allowed by the Owls this season, and were 26 points fewer than the Bearcats' previous average of 80.9 points per game.
> Temple narrowed a 15-point second-half deficit down to a single point at Houston on Dec. 30, but the final shot at the buzzer to tie the game fell short. Junior Shizz Alston, Jr.
led the Owls with 18 points, while sophomore Quinton Rose
added 14 and freshman Nate Pierre-Louis
came off the bench for a season-high 11 points for the second straight game.
> Four players scored in double figures in the Tulane loss on Dec. 28, led by Alston and Rose who posted 17 points apiece. Senior Josh Brown
added 14, and Pierre-Louis scored 11.
> Rose is the Owls' leading scorer with 15.4 ppg, ranking 10th in the league. Alston is close behind at 14.9 ppg (12th in the AAC), and he leads all players in the conference with a free-throw percentage of .914.
> Either Rose or Alston have led or tied for the team lead in scoring in 12 of 14 of Temple's games in 2017-18.
> Temple has started the same five players - Josh Brown
, Shizz Alston, Jr.
, Quinton Rose
, Obi Enechionyia
and Ernest Aflakpui
- all season.
> The Knights are 11-4 overall and have won two straight as well as seven of their last eight.
> UCF lost a close game at SMU in its conference opener, 56-51, but has since won 59-39 at ECU and 65-56 vs. Memphis.
> Three players lead UCF in scoring - redshirt junior guard B.J. Taylor (12.0 ppg), junior center Tacko Fall (12.0 ppg) and redshirt senior guard A.J. Davis (11.5 ppg). Davis leads the team and the American Athletic Conference with 9.2 rebounds per game, while Fall is fourth in the AAC with 7.2 rpg.
> Head coach Johnny Dawkins is in his second season at UCF with a record of 35-16 after guiding the Knights to a 24-12 record last year. Prior to 2016-17, UCF had finished with losing records for three straight years.
> Temple and UCF are meeting for the 10th time, with the Owls holding a 5-4 lead in the series.
> The Owls had won four straight against the Knights before getting swept in the regular season in 2016-17. UCF won 77-53 in Orlando on New Year's Eve, and bested the Owls 71-69 in Philadelphia on Feb. 22.
> Temple swept the season series in both 2015-16 and 2014-15. The Owls won two close games in 2015-16, coming out ahead 63-61 at home Feb. 27, 2016, and winning 62-60 on the road on Feb. 6, 2016.
> Four of the nine all-time meetings have been decided by two points. UCF's most recent win prior to last season was a four-point, double-overtime victory in the American Athletic Conference Tournament's first round on March 12, 2014. That contest was the second overtime decision for UCF and Temple in that season.