PHILADELPHIA- Seniors Will Cummings, Jesse Morgan, Nick Pendergast and Jimmy McDonnell heard the Liacouras Center buzzer sound for the final time in their careers today. The Owls got the win for their Seniors and picked up a 75-63 win over the reigning National Champions, the UConn Huskies.
This was the Owls second win over UConn this season, their first being an overtime win back in December.
Coach Dunphy gave all four of his seniors the start today, letting them take the court together at the Liacouras Center for one final time.
It was a slow start for the Owls, who couldn’t find a way to stop UConn guard Ryan Boatright in the first half. Boatright had the boat rockin’ from the start, shooting 4-5 from three and finishing the half with 21 points.
If the Owls wanted any chance of winning the game, they had to shut Boatright down, and that’s what they did in the second half.
“I told Coach Trice I wanted to guard Boatright,” said Senior guard Jesse Morgan in the post-game press conference. Morgan did just that, suffocating Boatright with his stellar on-ball defense. The Owls doubled and sometimes even triple teamed Boatright, and held him to just 4 points in the second half. He would finish with a game high 25.
Only Coach Dunphy and the players know what was said in the locker room at halftime as the Owls trailed the Huskies 37-32, but it clearly lit a fire under the tails of the Owls.
Temple who shot just 2-10 from three in the first half struggled to get their offense going, but Jesse Morgan didn’t seem to be phased. Morgan was cookin’ from deep, finishing the game 5-7 from downtown, and finishing the night with 17 points.
The highlight of the night had to be a vicious putback dunk from Obi Enechionyia with just under eight minutes to go that gave the Owls a 55-50 lead. The sellout crowd let out a roar that could have been heard from City Hall.
In their final game at the Liacouras Center, Morgan and Cummings put on a performance for the ages. Cummings finished with 23 points, five assists and one rebound in one of Temple’s biggest wins of the year.
The Owls have their sights set on the AAC Tournament, which will take place in Hartford, CT from March 12-15.
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