The Owls hosted the University of Central Florida Knights(11-17, 3-14 AAC) at the Liacouras Center in their last home game of the season Tuesday night. This in-conference match-up was nothing short of exciting. Two made UCF free throws forced the game into overtime. However, it was Temple that came out with the W after a stellar overtime performance. The Owls got their third conference win by a score of 86-78.
In the first half, the Knights were draining everything from beyond the arc going up 20-13 after Philadelphia native Calvin Newell found the net from 3-point range. He finished with a team high 23 points.
It was senior night and the Owl’s lone senior Dalton Pepper was struggling to get going. No worries, Junior Anthony Lee had the hot hand early on. Lee netted 12 of his 20 points in the first 13 minutes of play. The big-man was 1 of 3 Temple players to score 20 or more points in Tuesday’s game. Lee also recorded his 11th double double of the season.
The Knights 6-foot-10 310 pound center proved to be a hassle for Lee early on. However an injury put him on the bench for the second half. The Owls went into the locker room up 36-33.
In the second half, offensive rebounds became a huge advantage for Temple. By the end of the game, Temple had 17 offensive boards contributing to their 48-37 lead, their largest of the game. However, three missed opportunities on offense gave Knights a chance to redeem themselves, and that they did. The Knights Staphon Blair’s made layup with 8:07 remaining put UCF up 53-52.
Then Dalton Pepper came around. The senior made 2 of his 3 three-pointers in the 2nd half finishing with a game high 26 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Will Cummings finished with 23 points of his own. A statistic that would have been talked about more had he not been 1 of 3 to score 20+.
With five seconds remaining, Temple up 70-68, the Knights Newell is fouled on his way to the basket. He sinks both. Now to the overtime period, the Owls up 75-74, Lee is fouled driving to the basket and the ball rolls in. Lee swishes his free throw. The Owls shot a season high 22 of 26 from the line.
A lazer-pass by Quenton DeCosey to Dalton Pepper with 34 seconds remaining seals the deal for Temple. The Owls go on to win 86-78.
The Owls are now 8-21 overall, 3-14 in conference play. They next hit the hardwood on Saturday when they travel to Florida to take on USF.