Temple lead for nearly 36 minutes in their 6th annual “White Out” game, but came away with the loss which evens their record at 14-14 overall and 5-10 in the American Athletic Conference.
In the first half of this nationally televised game, the Cherry and White’s offense was firing on all cylinders as they shot 44% from the floor. Senior Dan Dingle and sophomore Shizz Alston Jr. did a bulk of the scoring as the duo scored 12 and 9 respectively in the first twenty minutes. The Owls consistently held a small lead within the first half, with the largest lead being 6 points, and they took a 35-29 lead into intermission.
The crowd of 8,702 were left screaming for Moore and Moore buckets to start the second half. Freshmen Alani Moore II and center Damion Moore catapulted the Temple offense as they scored the first 14 points for Temple in the second half. Damion Moore, who was starting his third consecutive game, reached a new career high in points with 11 due to his scoring explosion in the beginning of the half.
With the Moores leading the way for Temple, it took the entire UConn squad to step up their game and stay within striking distance. As Alani and Damion were scoring, so were UConn’s Jalen Adams, Rodney Purvis and Kentan Facey. Temple’s lead got to as low as 1 point early in the second half as UConn shot 54.2% from the floor, but Dan Dingle was giving his best effort to come away with a huge AAC win.
Dingle’s scoring led the Owls in the first half, then it was his rebounding and passing in the second. The senior finished with 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. All three of those marks led the game on Sunday, the last time an Owl led his team in points, rebounds, and assists was on March 6, 2013 by Khalif Wyatt. But it was a missed free throw by Dingle that ended up changing the course of the game.
The Owls built up a solid 10 point lead with 8:29 remaining at 56-46, but UConn stormed back with an 11-2 run to cut the deficit to 1 once again. UConn’s Rodney Purvis led the Huskies’ run with eight of those points, and he finished with 18 points and 5 assists on the day.
It all came down to the final minute.
On a crazy Owls possession that included two offensive rebounds, Shizz Alston grabbed that second board and looked to throw it to Dan Dingle, who would then burn out some clock with Temple up by three. UConn’s Jalen Adams picked off the pass as he read Alston perfectly and then was fouled on the ensuing possession as he tried to slam one home. Adams knocked down a pair to cut it to 1.
Then on Temple’s possession, Dan Dingle was fouled on a reach-in, and headed to the line. Dingle took one dribble, one spin, and a moment to gather, and his free throw rimmed out. After a UConn timeout, head coach Kevin Ollie diagramed a pick-and-roll for Jalen Adams, who drove to his left and threw up the shot. On the glass and in with 2.9 to go. With Temple having no timeouts left, Shizz Alston’s near halfcourt prayer fell short and UConn escaped with the one-point win. 64-63.
This was the second time Temple lost an AAC on their home floor on a last second layup as they lost to Tulsa in January in familiar fashion.
The Owls will try and bounce back Wednesday night when the face the monstrous Tacko Fall and the UCF Knights. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 pm.