Temple tries to snap its longest losing streak in 38 years and win for only the second time at home when Rutgers visits on Wednesday. The Owls started their eight-game slide with a 71-66 defeat at Rutgers on Jan. 1 in the American Athletic Conference opener for both. “I thought (the season) would be a challenge, and it certainly has been,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy told reporters after an 80-76 loss to No. 15 Cincinnati on Sunday. “We have to be as positive as we can be, try to get better.”
The Owls boast four players who average at least 14 points, but stand last in the AAC in scoring defense and rebounding margin (minus-3.9). Rutgers, which is 0-5 on the road, is allowing 75.2 points per game – just ahead of Temple in the league. The Scarlet Knights have lost five of six since holding the Owls to 33.3 percent shooting.
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ABOUT RUTGERS (8-12, 2-5 AAC): Kadeem Jack led the way with 18 points in the first meeting with Temple and is second on the team in scoring (13.3) while leading the Scarlet Knights in rebounding (6.9). Myles Mack was held to 10 on 3-of-11 shooting by the Owls, but has scored at least 20 six times and paces the team at 16 per contest. J.J. Moore averages 11.4 points while Jerome Seagears leads the league in assist-turnover ratio (2.5) and has recorded 18 and 19 points in two of the last four games.
ABOUT TEMPLE (5-13, 0-7): Dalton Pepper registered a career-high 33 points as the Owls fought to the end against Cincinnati, increasing his average to 17.9 – third in the AAC. Will Cummings (16.3), Quenton DeCosey (15.7) and Anthony Lee (14.1) along with Pepper account for 83 percent of Temple’s offense after recording 26 percent of the points between them last season. Lee tops the league in rebounding (9.1) and hauled in 13 against Rutgers earlier this month as the Owls won the board battle, 44-41.
1. The Owls were defeated in 11 straight from Dec. 10, 1975 to Jan. 24, 1976 – including a 95-62 loss against Rutgers.
2. The Scarlet Knights are averaging 83.3 points in their victories and 67.4 in losses.
3. Temple leads the all-time series 32-19, but Rutgers has won five of the last six meetings.
PREDICTION: Temple 74, Rutgers 64