Temple Basketball: Historic Upset over Kansas Slips Right Through Owls' Hands

Nick LantzCorrespondent IIJanuary 6, 2013

LAWRENCE, KS - JANUARY 06:  Khalif Wyatt #1 of the Temple Owls shoots as Jeff Withey #5 of the Kansas Jayhawks defends during the game at Allen Fieldhouse on January 6, 2013 in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Temple Owls had a chance to break a historic record held by the Kansas Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse on Sunday afternoon. Despite what looked to be a potential Top 10 upset, Kansas pulled away in the closing moments to win, 69-62.

Had Temple won, it would have snapped Kansas' streak of 62 straight home victories over non-conference opponents. However, down the stretch, Kansas made the big plays when it needed to, and Temple just could not.

After a first half that was mainly controlled by the Jayhawks, Temple stormed back and led a large portion of the second half. Trailing by six at the half, the Owls went on a 22-7 run midway through the second to gain a four-point lead with 10:58 remaining.

The two teams battled back and forth before KU's Ben McLemore stole a Will Cummings pass and threw down a monstrous dunk on the other end, giving the Jayhawks a 58-57 lead with 2:50 left that they wouldn't relinquish.

The bright spot for the Owls was, yet again, senior Khalif Wyatt, who had a game-high 26 points. Other than Wyatt's heroic play, Temple really struggled from the field, shooting a horrific 30.2 percent and making just 19 shots for the game.

Multiple times in the second half, Temple went on lengthy droughts without making a field goal. After taking their first lead of the half on a three-pointer by Wyatt with 14:49 remaining, the Owls went nearly seven minutes without making another shot until Wyatt made a layup to retake the lead, 52-50.

With 5:01 left in the game, Cummings hit a huge three to give Temple a 57-54 lead. The shot by Cummings—who made some huge plays for the Owls in the contest and finished with 11 points—was the last one that Temple would make until Wyatt got one to go with 25 seconds remaining in the game.

Kansas (12-1) was able to make its free throws when it mattered to put the game away for good. Senior center Jeff Withey, who stands 7'0", disrupted Temple's offense down the stretch, finishing with an astonishing nine blocks. Kevin Young added 16 points for the Jayhawks, including six critical free throws in the final five minutes.

Temple (10-3) nearly pulled off its second Top 10 upset of the season after being just over two weeks removed from an 83-79 victory over Syracuse. The Owls start Atlantic 10 conference play on Thursday, as they travel to Xavier.

As for Kansas, this win was their 30th straight victory at home. The Jayhawks begin their Big 12 schedule by hosting Iowa State on Wednesday.