A convincing Owls victory Sunday, 77-65 over USF continued their push for a bid into the NCAA Tournament, a fifth straight 'W' and dominating defense lifting the squad to 16-8 on the year.

Even when including SMU (which is facing a postseason ban), Temple finds itself atop the American Conference standings (10-3) after winning eight of its last nine games.

On Valentines Day Jaylen Bond unleashed his beast mode against the Bulls, nabbing 14 rebounds and scoring 18 points to post a double double.

"I was able to get some easy shots and easy layups today," Bond said after the game.

Obi Enechionyia also had 18 points while Josh Brown scored 11 along with 9 assists. Conference player of the year candidate Quenton DeCosey had 12 points, six assists and five rebounds.

Even a 1-for-14 slump late in the first half didn't diminish Temple's lead after a 34-19 start (and 78 percent mark from the field). After the first 20 minutes, Temple was ahead 40-31.

South Florida chipped the lead down to just four before the Owls were able to up it back to 15 once again in the second half, taking advantage of 20 USF turnovers. In all, TU outscored the Bulls 27-5 off turnovers.

However, head coach Fran Dunphy still knows there is room to improve.

"I didn't think our defense was great throughout," the coach told CBSSports after the game, "but we got the win and that's the most important thing."

Even though USF shot a higher percentage from the field (55.1 percent for South Florida, 47.8 for Temple) the opportunistic defense was the difference in the Owls' 16th win.

The focus now shifts to a huge non-conference battle later this week when No. 1 Villanova visits the Liacorous Center. The Owls were able to avoid a trap game by not looking too far forward.

"I think these guys understood the routine," Dunphy said. "We had to concentrate our efforts here."