Those that have been following Temple Basketball this season should not be surprised that another one of Temple’s games came down to the last seconds of the game. Temple has had 10 games decided by a margin of 5 points or less so far this season, including three of those games carrying into overtime play.
The game was back and forth from the start. The Owls were able to head into the half, barely holding a 4-point lead against the knights. Even though the Owls were 6-17 from behind the arc in the first half, they cooled down significantly in the second half. University of Central Florida adjusted their defense, switching from a zone to man, helping them kick off an 11-3 run to start the second half.
Temple struggled to connect in the second half, but Mark Williams kept the Owls in it. The junior forward was on fire scoring a season high of 16 points, and grabbing 5 rebounds. When UCF would take the lead, it was Williams who would come up with a clutch shot to bring the Owls back into the action.
The Owls overall shot the ball fairly well, outshooting the Knights 40% to 36% from the field, and 30% to 25% from the three. But what really propelled Temple’s victory was their foul shooting percentage. Temple shot 70% from the stripe, while UCF only managed 50%. In a game that comes down the wire, foul shots are notorious to make or break the game.
This road win not only puts Temple half a game behind SMU for first in the AAC, but it gives Fran Dunphy his 517th career win in the Big 5, surpassing Hall of Famer and former Temple coach, John Chaney. Dunphy has always been a Philadelphia man, especially when it comes to basketball. He is one of five coaches to win over 200 wins at two different schools, and one of eight coaches to win 200 wins in the Big 5. Dunphy reflects on his achievements in the Big 5 with nothing but modesty and appreciation, he explains, “I grew up in it…I was lucky enough to play in it…lucky enough to coach in it…I’m very grateful for my opportunity.”
Temple improves to 8-3 in the AAC and 14-8 overall. Their next game is February 11th against UConn.