After falling behind by as much as 11 in the first half against East Carolina, Temple would find itself heading to the locker room down just 38-33 thanks to two clutch threes by Devin Coleman to end the half, including one at the buzzer.
In the second half, the Owls would look like a completely different team, knocking down eight three-pointers on their way to blowing the game open and picking up a 78-60 win over the Pirates.
Following another win over a ranked opponent earlier in the week – this time #23 UConn – Temple returned home Saturday looking to build some momentum.
In the early going, however, it seemed the Owls were destined to suffer a fate similar to that of the Houston game.
Temple would stumble out of the block a bit, falling behind by as much as 11 with 1:44 remaining in the first half.
Coleman would come up huge in the final minute-plus of the half, however, hitting a three with 1:16 remaining to cut the Owls’ deficit to eight before knocking down another shot from beyond the arc at the buzzer to send Temple to the break down just 38-33.
“I thought that was key for the game,” Temple Coach Fran Dunphy said of Coleman’s buzzer-beater. “I don’t think there is any question about it. I mentioned it on TV a little bit ago, I thought that was the biggest play of the game.”
The threes would continue to fall for Temple in the second half, as it hit three consecutive three-pointers to open the half and take a 42-38 lead.
As the half wore on, Temple would continue to knock down long range shots and tighten up on defense, taking a 17-point lead with 3:53 remaining when Coleman knocked down yet another three. The Owls would stretch that lead to as much as 21 over the final minutes before picking up a 78-60 win to improve to 8-6 on the season and 3-1 in conference play.
The Owls were led by Quenton DeCosey, who notched 24 points in the win and went 5-for-8 from beyond the arc, and Coleman, who added 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting from three-point range.
“I was just trying to make some shots and do anything I could to help the team,” Coleman said. “The one at the end (of the first half) seemed like it gave us some energy going into the second half, so that was great. We got some momentum there that we carried along throughout the second half and we were able to blow the game open.”
After a lackluster first half, things appeared to click on both ends of the court for the Owls in the second act, a positive sign for a team that has struggled with consistency so far this season.
“We still have a lot of work to do, but I think we’ve shown with the couple wins we have in conference, that when we come into games with the right mindset and we play the right way, we can be a pretty good team,” Coleman said. “We have to work on the consistency of our team and make sure we come out with the same mindset every game.”
Temple will now look to build on two consecutive solid wins when it faces off with Memphis on Wednesday on the road.
By: Kyle Babcock
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