In order to do so, the Owls would need to knock off Connecticut to complete a season sweep of the Huskies.
A late run in the first half helped the Owls take a lead to the locker room, but Temple would emerge for the second half looking flat and quickly find itself trailing by double-digits. Down by 12 with 5:51 remaining in the game, Temple would begin to rally, scoring 11 straight points, including back-to-back-to-back threes, to tie the game with 1:49 to play.
The Owls would complete their comeback in the end, outscoring the Huskies 21-4 over the final 5:38 to pick up a 63-58 win and improve to 15-8 on the season and 9-3 in conference play.
“I think (Connecticut’s) defense is tremendous,” Temple Coach Fran Dunphy said. “We were dead in the water. We didn’t score but 11 points or so in the first 15 minutes of the second half. That’s pretty poor offense. Somehow, we figured out a way to get it to the rim. I thought Jaylen (Bond) had a couple really tough follows and that helped us a lot as well.”
Connecticut would then build a five-point lead, only to see Temple close the half on a 9-2 run to take a 31-29 lead heading into the break.
Looking to carry over some of their late first half momentum into the second act, the Owls would do anything but that, allowing the Huskies to start the half on a 23-9 run to take a 52-40 lead with 7:48 remaining.
Down 12 with less than six minutes to play, the Owls would begin to heat up. Daniel Dingle hit three three-pointers in a span of just less than two minutes and Devin Coleman would pitch in a three of his own, as Temple quickly cut its deficit to just two.
“I was going to shoot regardless,” Dingle said after the game. “I was trying to help us get back in the game. My confidence was high. After practice, me and Quenton (DeCosey) get up shots every day, so I put in the work and I got lucky tonight.”
Both teams would then go scoreless for nearly two minutes before Quenton DeCosey knocked down a jumper for the Owls to tie the game the 56-56. From there, DeCosey would go on to score the Owls’ final seven points to help Temple complete its comeback in a 63-58 win.
“Once we made the run and got back in the game and we were down like two with I think two minutes left, I definitely told myself this was my time to takeover, to make plays for myself and for my teammates to try and get us the win,” DeCosey said.
DeCosey led all scorers in the game, notching 23 points and going a perfect 7-for-7 from the foul line. Dingle added 15 points, including four crucial three-pointers, and Coleman pitched in 11 points of his own.
Not to be forgotten were Jaylen Bond’s 13 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass, to help Temple outscore Connecticut 17-7 in second chance points.
“We are resilient,” Dunphy said. “We’re not a group that gives up. We’re very fortunate to win it. Some things had to go our way and they did.”
After showing its resiliency yet again, Temple will now need to demonstrate focus, as the Owls must prepare for Sunday’s contest against South Florida without looking ahead to next week’s matchup with #1 Villanova.
By: Kyle Babcock
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