After winning four of its last five games, Temple survived a thriller to a scrappy Tulsa Golden Hurricane unit by a score of 83-79.
In 4 career tries (including two last season), Temple has never defeated the Golden Hurricane. At the half, the game was tied at 27, with 6 lead changes and near dead even field goal percentage (TEM-35.5%, TLS- 37.5%). Early on it was Obi Enechinonyia netting 4 baskets on 5 attempts to go along with 9 points. His 9 points came in just over 8 minutes, as Coach Fran Dunphy decided to sit Enechionyia for the half after he picked up his second foul with 11:38 to go. He bounced back and finished with 17 points and 4 rebounds. “I’m back in my groove and my confidence is pretty high.”
Tulsa came into the game with the highest scoring backcourt in the AAC in seniors Shaquille Harrison and James Woodard. Temple knew they had their hands full as the two came into the North Broad averaging a combined 31.3 points per game. Harrison finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Woodard added 18 points and 10 rebounds.
The Owls spread the ball offensively, ending the game with 6 players scoring at least 7 points. Josh Brown played an all-around game adding 9 points 6 assists and 3 steals. Coach Dunphy noted, “He knows where everyone has to be at all times. I don’t want to play too many minutes without him on the court.” The lack of efficiency from leading scorer leading scorer Quenton Decosey in the first half plagued the Owls. He went into the locker room 0-7 from the field with 0 points. “I told myself at halftime I wanted to stay aggressive. The shots started to fall in the second half.” The shots sure did fall. He ended with 21 points, a game-high for the Owls on 6-8 second half shooting to go along with 6 assists.
Tulsa started the second half on a 10-2 run, which sparked a game of catch up for the Owls for what seemed to be the entirety of the game. As soon when the Owls cut the deficit from 12 to 5 points with 8:32 left in the game, the Golden Hurricane go consecutive possessions with made 3-pointers the extended their lead to 9.
As if the antics were over, Temple found itself creeping within 3 points just over 2 minutes left to go in the game. Jaylen Bond collected the ball at the foul line, forced the defense to bite on a drive step towards the basket, and found a wide open Quenton Decosey in the corner who tied the game at 61. The Liacouras Center was on their feet for the remainder of the game.
Tulsa’s James Woodard seemed to be too much for the Owls to handle in the remaining moments of the game as his two straight possessions resulted in 4 points and extended a precious late-game lead.
The lead wouldn’t be held much longer.
Down 70-67 with just over 10 ticks to go, Josh Brown found Quenton Decosey on the wing who is immediately double teamed. Decosey muscled through the defenders to find Devin Coleman on the far baseline who nailed the game tying bucket with 3 seconds to go to send the game into overtime. “He’s a great teammate. He loves to give it up.” Coach Dunphy stated. It was the first time Tulsa hadn’t held a lead in the entire second half.
With momentum and cheering fans in favor of the Owls, they took care of business in Overtime. After trading buckets, Obi Enechionyia hit a 3 pointer to extend a 1 point lead to 4, and ultimately cooled off a fiery Tulsa team. Coach Dunphy praised the Golden Hurricanes. “Tulsa is a veteran team. They’re really good. That’s what makes this such a good win for us.”
Josh Brown dribbled the ball as the time expired in overtime amongst the famous “I Believe” chant coming from the Temple student section.