Bowling Green (5-7) at Temple (9-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, December 31, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Liacouras Center (10,206) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: None. Home Record: BGSU 4-2, TU 5-1. Away Record: BGSU 0-3, TU 3-0. Neutral Record: BGSU 1-2, TU 1-1. Conference Record: BGSU 0-0, TU 0-0. Series Record: Temple leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: The Temple Owls return to the Liacouras Center for a New Year's Eve encounter with the struggling Bowling Green Falcons.
Louis Orr's Falcons are coming off a 56-53 setback to North Dakota on Friday that served as their third consecutive loss. Bowling Green was defeated by Michigan State (64-53) and South Florida (87-84 3OT) in the first two stages of its losing skid. The team has yet to win a true road game in three tries this season, but it could really use a momentum boost with its MAC opener at Central Michigan on deck. The Falcons are scoring and allowing 62.5 points per game, but they are grabbing 2.2 less rebounds per contest than their opponents.
Temple was supposed to return to action on Friday, but inclement weather postponed its game versus Detroit. The Owls pulled off an 83-79 upset the previously unbeaten Syracuse Orange on Dec. 22 to improve to 9-2 on the season, but they lost to Canisius by 10 points in their last Liacouras Center contest. Fran Dunphy's squad is decent on the offensive end with an average of 71.4 ppg on 41.1 percent shooting from the field. Temple is limiting its opposition to 64.9 ppg.
This will be the fifth time Bowling Green and Temple square off on the hardwood. The Owls hold a 3-1 all-time series lead, but the Falcons picked up a 67-64 victory last season in Ohio.
Bowling Green has played tough in its last two outings as it lost in triple overtime in Tampa to South Florida before being buried by a late 3-pointer at North Dakota. The Falcons hit 41.7 percent of their field goal attempts and held UND to 37.5 percent shooting, but an 8-of-15 mark at the charity stripe hindered Bowling Green's chances in the bout. Point guard Jordon Crawford led the team with 14 points and A'uston Calhoun added 12 points and eight boards. Richard Holmes made a big impact on the defensive end by swatting six blocks. The 5-6 Crawford is pacing BGSU 16.5 points and 3.9 assists per outing. Calhoun is chipping in 15.7 points and seven boards per game.
Khalif Wyatt was spectacular in the Owls' bout against Syracuse at Madison Square Garden. The senior guard was named the Atlantic 10 and National Player of the Week after netting a career-high 33 points and converting 15-of-15 free throw attempts against the Orange's tough 2-3 defense. Wyatt is leading the team with 16.2 points and 3.9 assists per game. Senior forward Scootie Randall is second on the squad in scoring (13 ppg), but is the top rebounder with 7.2 boards per contest. Anthony Lee, who set a new-career high with 21 points to go along with nine boards versus the Orange, is adding 11.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game to the fold. Senior Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson (8.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg.) and sophomore guard Will Cummings (5.5 ppg, 2.0 spg.) round out the Owls' starting five.
Temple has a clear size and talent edge in this one, but the Falcons have played very tough in games they enter as the underdog. The Owls' recent loss to Canisius at home is fresh enough in their minds to serve as motivation to get off to a good start, but BGSU will stay competitive.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Temple 74, Bowling Green 64
12/31 10:30:52 ET