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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 29, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Liacouras Center (10,200) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: ESPNews. Home Record: Rutgers 9-7, Temple 1-5. Away Record: Rutgers 1-5, Temple 1-5. Neutral Record: Rutgers 0-0, Temple 3-3. Conference Record: Rutgers 2-5, Temple 0-7. Series Record: Temple leads, 32-19.
GAME NOTES: The Temple Owls will be out for revenge on Wednesday night, as they seek their first conference win against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in an American Athletic Conference rematch at the Liacouras Center.
Rutgers, which has won five of the last six meetings with Temple, notched a 71-66 win at home over the Owls earlier this month. The Owls lead the all-time series though, 32-19.
Since that victory over Temple, Rutgers has lost five of six games, falling to 8-12 overall and to 2-5 in AAC play. The Scarlet Knights are also a miserable 1-5 on the road, but they return home for their next contest to host Houston.
Temple's loss to Rutgers was the beginning of a seven-game losing streak the team is still enduring. The Owls are a ghastly 5-13 overall, including a winless ledger against the AAC (0-7), unheard of marks for a Fran Dunphy- coached squad. They will step out of conference to host ninth-ranked Villanova this weekend.
The Scarlet Knights were dismissed by Connecticut in an 82-71 final last Saturday. Rutgers only knocked down 40.4 percent of its total shots, while being doubled up in points off turnovers (16-8).
One positive in the loss was the showing put forth by Kadeem Jack, who netted 19 points, collected 11 rebounds and blocked four shots. On the season, the 6- foot-9 forward is putting up solid numbers (13 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.2 bpg), but he had scored more than 10 points only twice in the previous seven games before Saturday's duel. Myles Mack (16.5 ppg, 4.4 apg) is still the team's top offensive weapon, as well as one of the better passers in the conference, ranking fifth in assists. J.J. Moore (11.2 ppg) is another solid scorer, but the only other one netting more than nine ppg.
Temple nearly pulled off a valiant comeback, but eventually fell short against Cincinnati on Sunday, losing by a final of 80-76. The Owls connected on only 38.2 percent of their shots from the floor, while being outscored 32-20 in the paint. Dalton Pepper poured in 33 points, knocking down eight 3-pointers in the loss.
Not only have the Owls been losing at an uncharacteristic pace, they have also been performing poorly on defense, which is highly unusual for the program under Dunphy's watch. Temple is letting up 76.4 ppg on the season, which has outdone its own offensive production (75.8 ppg). Pepper (17.9 ppg) is one of four players on the roster scoring in double figures and he is a strong shooter from beyond the arc. Will Cummings (16.2 ppg, 4 apg) and Quenton DeCosey (15.7 ppg) are also potent scorers out of the backcourt, while Anthony Lee (14.1 ppg, league-leading 9.1 rpg) anchors the team down low.
Although Temple is just 1-5 at home this season, the Owls usually defend their home floor well. Expect that to be the case on Wednesday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Temple 77, Rutgers 72
01/29 10:37:46 ET
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