ORLANDO — The last time that the Owls lost big was against Florida State in Tallahassee. It seems as though the team’s next trip to Florida wound up with a different kind of outcome as the Owls were able to defeat the University of Central Florida in a 71-63 win for their eighth win in the last nine games! Feyonda Fitzgerald lead the way with 16 points, while shooting 4-6 from three point range, while Alliya Butts, freshly selected in the Big 5 and American Honor Roll, added 11 points, and Tanaya Atkinson and Donnaizha Fountain added 10 points apiece.
As has become somewhat routine in a majority of their games this semester, Temple came out with a strong first half, but began to crumble a little in the second half and allow UCF to get back in it. However, as has also happened recently, they’ve learned how to close games and win the games that they’re supposed to win, which is how they’ve only allowed one loss in the last nine games. They’re getting into a grove and learning how to finish off strong, rather than come up empty, as was the problem during the beginning of the season.
Surprisingly, with the outcome of the quarter, UCF started off extremely hot by going on a 7-0 run in the first two minutes of the game. Temple started to catch back up, though, and evened the game at 14 with three minutes left in the quarter. At that point, Temple went on a 16-2 run to end the quarter lead by fastbreak points and free throws, as seems to be their specialty in the point collecting column.
There weren’t any huge runs by either team during the second quarter, but Temple was able to stretch the lead out a bit to the highest margin that it had been, that being 23 points. The only run in the quarter that lasted was UCF’s 8-0 run at the end of the quarter to shorten Temple’s lead to just 15. By the end of the half, Fitzgerald was the only player in double digits with 11 points, but Temple had been spreading the ball well as eight players had at least four points at that time, while UCF only had five players with at least four. Temple was also leading both teams in rebounds and steals, while UCF had a slight edge in assists.
Not a lot of scoring happened in the first five minutes of the quarter, as only four points were scored. However, UCF was able to get the game back into single digits, and even as low as seven, Temple was able to go back and forth with them and bring the lead back up to 11 by the end of the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the second half collapse almost occurred again, as UCF brought the game to within four with about 2:30 minutes left into the game. Temple was able to keep the lead, though, as they never let up the lead and were able to finish off a game, where earlier in the season, they probably would have let it slip. It’s just a sign that this team is progressing as the win improves their streak to three now.