Instant Replay: Kent State 81, Temple 77

Instant Replay: Kent State 81, Temple 77
November 11, 2013, 9:30 pm
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Dalton Pepper scored 15 points in Temple's 81-77 loss to Kent State. (USA Today Images)

BOX SCORE

Temple led for the majority of the game -- and that's a stat that doesn't count.

Thanks to an 11-for-22 shooting effort behind the arc from Kent State, Temple lost its home opener to the Golden Flashes, 81-77, Monday night at the Liacouras Center.

This is the first time Temple has dropped its home opener since 2008, when it lost to another MAC team, Miami (OH).

The loss drops Temple to 1-1 this season and 11-6 in home openers at the Apollo.

Turning point
Temple went ahead, 6-3, just over 2 1/2 minutes into the game and proceeded to lead Kent State for the next 27 minutes before falling behind, 69-68, with 4:35 to play. It was part of a 13-2 Flashes run that saw the Owls trail by as much as six, 77-71, with 55 seconds to go.

Temple had two chances to swing the game in its favor inside the final minute but couldn't capitalize on either.

With 31 seconds left and Temple down four, Kent's K.K. Simmonds missed two free throws, but the ball deflected out of bounds off Owls forward Anthony Lee on the second miss, as Lee tried to corral the loose ball.

Temple's Will Cummings forced a steal on the following possession and took off down the floor but was called for a charge on his way to the basket.

Two tough breaks for Temple that halted a potential comeback. Cummings actually hit a desperation, fall-away three with 1.8 seconds left to cut the margin to only two, 79-77, but two more Kent State free throws after a foul on the ensuing inbounds iced it.

B.M.O.C.
Cummings and Kent State's Devereaux Manley and Derek Jackson tied for the game-high with 17 points each.

Manley and Jackson combined to go 11 of 20 from the floor and 6 of 10 from three.

Cummings actually scored 14 of his 17 in the first half and didn't record a point after the break until his three-pointer with 1.8 seconds left.

Four Owls -- Cummings, Lee, Dalton Pepper and Quenton DeCosey -- finished in double figures. Lee and DeCosey had 16; Pepper finished with 15.

DeCosey's 16 were a career high, and he scored 13 of those 16 in the second. Lee recorded his second double-double of the season with 11 boards.

Inside the box score
• Not often you see this kind of discrepancy from inside and outside the arc, but Kent State was just 6 for 20 from inside the arc in the first half and managed to stay in the game by making 7 of 13 three-point attempts. Temple, on the other hand, shot better than 50 percent from the field but only 1 for 6 from three.

• By the end, three pointers proved the difference. Kent State: 11 for 22. Temple 5 for 19. The Owls are now 11 for 43 this season from three.

• That and bench scoring. Kent State's reserves outscored Temple's, 22-2. Josh Brown had Temple's only two points off the bench.

Temple vs. the MAC
As part of Temple's agreement to join the Mid-American Conference for football in 2006, the Owls agreed to play a set number of non-conference basketball games against MAC opponents. Temple is now 16-7 against the MAC since the start of the agreement in 2006, which has since ended.

Next up
Temple heads down to Maryland for a Thursday night game with Towson at 7:30. The game will broadcast on NBC Sports Network.

Thereafter, the Owls travel to South Carolina to play in the Charleston Classic the week before Thanksgiving. They'll take on Clemson in the opener on Thursday, Nov. 21, and either Georgia or Davidson on Friday the 22nd.

Temple does not return to the Liacouras Center until it hosts Saint Joseph's on Dec. 4 in its second Big 5 matchup of the season.