X-cruciating

Fran Dunphy

The Temple men's basketball team can't say it didn't have chances. At the end of a cold shooting night, the Owls had plenty of them, but they couldn't convert in a 57-52 loss at Xavier that opened the Atlantic 10 season. Temple is 10-4 overall, 0-1 in the A-10, while Xavier improved to 8-6, 1-0.

The Temple men's basketball team can't say it didn't have chances.

At the end of a cold shooting night, the Owls had plenty of them, but they couldn't convert in a 57-52 loss at Xavier that opened the Atlantic 10 season.

Temple is 10-4 overall, 0-1 in the A-10, while Xavier improved to 8-6, 1-0.

The Owls shot just 33.9 percent from the field, with the leading culprit being Khalif Wyatt, who scored just five points on 2-of-11 shooting and was 0-for-5 from three-point range. Scootie Randall knocked down just five of his team-high 15 shots.

Anthony Lee was the only player to shoot over 50 percent, hitting six of 11 baskets for a team-high 15 points to go with seven rebounds. Randall scored 13 and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson added 11.

The Owls got almost no production out of their four-man bench with Jake O'Brien's three-pointer – he was 1-of-7 overall, 1-of-6 beyond the arc – the only points.

Despite the struggles from the field, Temple rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to have a chance to tie the game in the closing minutes.

Down 48-37 with 8:45 to play, the Owls stormed back. Hollis-Jefferson scored five points and O'Brien hit his three-pointer to make it a 48-46 game. Xavier couldn't put the Owls away, but they couldn't catch up either.

Wyatt missed a three-pointer down 55-52 that would have tied the game. Will Cummings rebounded but turned it over.

Dee Davis then missed both free throws, giving the Owls one more shot, but Randall's three-pointer with 15 seconds left didn't go.

Semaj Christian scored 16 points for the Musketeers, who stopped a four-game losing streak and handed the Owls their second straight loss. Xavier's Travis Taylor scored 11 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.

Temple must hosts a Saturday night game against a 12-3 Saint Louis team which beat Massachusetts to open its A-10 slate on Thursday night.

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