Owls hope to soar past 19th-ranked Bearcats

Cincinnati, OH ( - The Temple Owls are hoping to correct a four-game losing streak, but will be fighting an uphill battle as they take on the 19th-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats in an American Athletic Conference matchup at Fifth Third Arena.

Temple has had its fair share of struggles this season with a 5-9 overall record. The Owls lose games in packs, and this four-game skid is the longest losing streak Temple has experienced all season. The Owls are coming off a 79-69 loss to No. 24 Memphis, and must now face the ranked Bearcats.

Cincinnati is riding an eight-game winning streak and a perfect 4-0 AAC record through its first 17 games this season. The Bearcats are coming off a dominant 71-51 win over Rutgers Saturday, and could potentially extend the streak to nine straight with Temple on their home court.

Cincinnati holds the advantage in the all-time series between these two programs, 14-6. Temple and Cincinnati will meet again later this month in Philadelphia on Jan. 26.

Although Memphis had a handle on things for most of the contest against Temple Saturday, the Owls did manage to cut the Tigers' lead to five points late in the second half. But Memphis regained the advantage and went on to win by 10 points, 79-69. Dalton Pepper led the way for Temple with 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the floor. Pepper added eight rebounds and a perfect 4-of-4 from the free-throw line to his stat total. Quenton DeCosey netted 18 points on 7- of-14 shooting, and Will Cummings had 11 and a team-high five assists in the loss. The Owls shot 41.5 percent from the field as a team.

Pepper, Cummings and DeCosey are the three top scorers on Temple this season, which averages 77.5 ppg. Pepper paces the team with 17.2 ppg, while Cummings and DeCosey are next at 16.1 and 16 ppg, respectively. Anthony Lee is the fourth-leading scorer on the Owls at 13.9 ppg and the team's tops rebounder at 9.4 rpg. Cummings has 57 total assists this season to lead the team. The Owls are giving up an average of 75.9 ppg to opponents.

Scoring hasn't been much of a problem for the Bearcats this season, as they receive plenty of it from top performers Sean Kilpatrick and Justin Jackson. But the real story has been Cincinnati's defense, which held Rutgers to 51 points Saturday in the Bearcats' 71-51 defeat of the Scarlet Knights. Cincinnati held Rutgers without a field goal in the final 11:45 of the contest, helping the Bearcats to a perfect 4-0 record in conference play. Kilpatrick scored a team-high 16 points on 3-of-13 shooting, but went 9-of-10 from the free-throw line, and grabbed seven rebounds. The Bearcats broke into the Top 20 with the win.

Kilpatrick has been a force to be reckoned with this season, netting 18.4 ppg in 17 contests on 41.9 percent shooting from the floor. He leads the team with 43 total assists on the year, and averages 4.4 rpg. Jackson, at 11.5 ppg this season, leads the team with a 7.5 rpg clip and has recorded a team-best 56 blocked shots. Jackson is aided by a 54.7 percent shooting mark from the field.