Tangled between two Temple defenders reaching for a rebound, Jalen Adams twisted to the ground with his leg pinned down by the two Owls. He could barely get up and had to be helped off the court, and was ruled out for the game shortly after with a sprained MCL.
Then Temple went on a 27-10 run to end the half, and UConn was down by 26. There was no coming back from there.
The Huskies (13-10, 4-6 The American) were dealt their fifth road loss of the season, an 81-63 rout at the hands of Temple (17-6, 7-3 The American). The only bright spots of the game: Josh Carlton and Christian Vital, who both scored 18 points and grabbed 18 rebounds apiece, and Eric Cobb, who notched 13 points and five rebounds off the bench. The Huskies won the second half and out-rebounded the Owls 31-6 in the final 20 minutes.
But that was it for the good news. The majority of points were scored after Temple already opened up an 18-point lead. The rest of the game was a sloppy defensive performance, allowing the Owls to shoot 11-for-23 from 3-point range, a 47.8 percent clip for a team that averages about 28 percent from beyond the arc.
Temple shot 52.7 from the floor overall, and the shots started raining down early. The Owls jumped out to an early 6-0 lead and, even after Vital sunk a three, Temple kept responding on the offensive end, making their first six shots. The Huskies trailed 13-10; then, at the 5:54 mark, Adams went down and Temple proceeded to go on a 15-0 run, sinking three 3-pointers in that span.
Cobb finally made a layup at the 9:48 mark, but at that point, the score was 28-12 and the Huskies were simply outmatched on both sides of the floor. They had no answer for Temple’s defensive pressure. They were perplexed when Temple was on the offensive side, getting owned beyond the arc and getting fooled by every little juke and step-back.
UConn struggled to make open shots while Temple simply could not miss. The young group of Huskies failed to step up when Adams went down, in stark contrast to how they responded to him being benched in the second half of the ECU game on Sunday. Tyler Polley went 0-for-4, Sid Wilson went 2-for-9 with four turnovers and Brendan Adams went 0-for-4.
“Obviously, Jalen’s injury affected us a lot,” Christian Vital told Dave Borges of the New Haven Register. “Guys were put in situations they weren’t really used to. It was just a tough night for us.”
Temple didn’t get much out of its bench aside from Alani Moore II’s 11 points, but four of Temple’s five starters scored double-digits. Shizz Alston Jr., who averages 18.3 per game, netted 18, while Nate Pierre-Louis was not far behind with 17. Quinton Rose led the Owls in rebounds with nine.
UConn will look to secure their first road win of the season at Memphis on Sunday at 2 p.m.