With the Owls on the brink of joining the cellar of the American Athletic Conference standings, freshman Quinton Rose and the Temple Owls went on a second-half surge to secure their first conference road win at Tulane 79-71.
In a first half that saw 7 ties and 5 lead changes, the Owls headed into the locker room all tied at 34 apiece despite their poor rebounding performance. Tulane’s center Ryan Smith, who had 11 points and 5 offensive rebounds, and forward Sammis Reyes, 9 points and 7 boards, dominated the glass with Temple’s Ernest Aflakpui stuck on the bench early on. Tulane’s 11 offensive rebounds and 16 second chance points in the first half kept them in the game against the Owls that shot 51% from the floor.
The second-half surge for the Cherry and White was led by Quinton Rose. The Rochester, NY product finished the night with 18 points and 9 rebounds, including 5 for 6 from the free throw line. Rose used his superior quickness from the second he entered the game to get into the paint and used his athleticism to finish around the rim.
Obi Enechionyia knocked down a three-pointer and Shizz Alston Jr. swished a few free throws to generate a 10-2 run early in the second half to give the Owls some breathing room at 48-40.
Enechionyia looked like his old self Tuesday night with 13 points on 5 for 8 shooting, but he struggled with foul trouble in his 27 minutes played. Shizz Alston Jr, the Owls new leading scorer, struggled with foul trouble as
well. Alston scored 15 points and grabbed 6 rebounds before he fouled out in the final minutes of play.
With 6:45 left in the game, Quinton Rose threw a cross-court fastball to Ernest Aflakpui for the layup and the Owls took their largest lead of the game at 13, but the Green Wave would not quit. Tulane’s Cameron Reynolds scored 5 straight points to make the score 67-61, then with the score at 69-63, Reynolds hit a three pointer to trim the Owls’ lead to 3. That was the closest that Tulane got to a comeback, but the redshirt-junior still had a game-high 29 points in defeat.
The number 70 continues to be the magic number for Temple. In games when the Owls put up more than 70 points, they are 11-1, with that one loss coming to the AAC’s strongest team in the Cincinnati Bearcats.
As far as the American Athletic Conference standings, the Owls still sit in 8th place at 3-7, but they still have a great opportunity to climb the standings and assert themselves with the AAC’s best.
Of the Owls 8 remaining games, 4 of them come against South Florida (twice), East Carolina and Tulane. Those three programs have a combined 3 AAC victories. Along with the Owls four matchups with the worst teams in the AAC, they face UCONN and Central Florida, the two teams right ahead of TU in the AAC standings. Those two games are great opportunities to gain even more ground as both games will be at the Liacouras Center.
Catch the Owls in action next this Sunday, February 5th as they face USF. Sunday’s game is at the Liacouras Center and tipoff is scheduled for 1 pm and will be televised on CSN.