Ole Miss couldn’t overcome an ice-cold offensive start in its last game.
Temple couldn’t overcome an ice-cold cold finish in its last game.
Both teams will try to warm up their shooting and get back on a winning track Saturday when they meet in Oxford, Miss.
The Rebels (7-3) watched UCF score the first 21 points Wednesday night and could never catch up in a 72-61 loss.
Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis blamed the poor start on “an inability to play downhill offensively.”
The Rebels climbed within 10 points at halftime and twice got within four in the second half but could get no closer.
“It was too big of a hole,” Davis said.
Ole Miss’ three losses have come in the past four games and the one against UCF was the second to feature a cold-shooting start.
Two games earlier the Rebels made just two of their first 18 shots, digging a 22-point hole that it couldn’t erase at Memphis.
In Temple’s most recent game last Saturday, the Owls (6-5) were locked in a tight Big 5 game with Penn when they suddenly went cold. They scored just four points in the final 8:48 and were dismissed 77-57. That ended a four-game Temple winning streak.
The score was tied at 53 before the Quakers outscored Temple 24-4 as the Owls failed to make a field goal the rest of the way. The loss prevented Temple from clinching the Big 5 title of superiority in Philadelphia college hoops.
“I so desperately wanted to outright win (the Big 5) because it makes a statement,” Owls head coach Aaron McKie said. “My biggest concern is how we played. Nothing worked.”
The Owls (3-1 in Big 5) would still gain a the outright title if St. Joseph’s defeats Villanova on Saturday.
Temple forward Jamille Reynolds, who is averaging 11.1 points and 6.3 rebounds, will miss six to eight weeks after undergoing thumb surgery.
Both teams have one more nonleague game (Ole Miss hosts North Alabama, Temple hosts Maryland-Eastern Shore) on Tuesday before taking a week off preceding their conference openers on Dec. 28.
–Field Level Media