TAMPA, Fl.—Coming down to the wire in a heated final game of the regular season, Temple’s objective was clear; to prove an unrelenting attitude and make the statement this season is not over. Yet.
Quenton DeCosey, a sophomore guard at the end of a breakout season, has oftentimes been overshadowed by the high scoring of lone senior Dalton Pepper and the leadership and athleticism of Will Cummings. In these close games, the ball has been entrusted in these leader’s hands.
With just 4.6 seconds left, Temple trailed by 1 courtesy of a Chris Perry putback bucket. Head coach Fran Dunphy had two timeouts to decide who would take a final shot. This time he chose DeCosey. The ball left his fingertips as the final clock expired on a short jumper from the right side. Swish.
Temple (9-21, 4-14) wins 66-65.
DeCosey played all 40 minutes putting up an 18 point effort. Though the final second hero shot is in his credit, this win for Temple was a team effort.
The Owls trailed by 18 with 6:40 remaining, but slashed the deficit in half with a 9-0 run. Pepper and Cummings proved their leadership during the slump to combine for 13 unanswered points, which knotted the score at 61. In doing so, the duo hit 9 straight from the floor. Cummings finished with 14 points while Pepper led all scorers with 20.
With 20 losses, on paper, this is Temple’s worst season in it’s 119 years of having a basketball team. Given the statistics, it would have been easy for the team to relent facing a large deficit. With the inaugural American Athletic Conference tournament just days away, however, Temple was looking to secure their seed with a win.
This marks the first time the team won two straight since beating UAB at the Charleston Classic back in November and then handling St. Joe’s a week later in Big 5 action.
The Owls next battle will be against UCF in tournament play on Wednesday at 9:30 in Memphis. If they can hold off the Knights, with whom they split games this season, they will face Cincinnati. Temple was seconds away from upsetting number 15/15 Cincinnati back on January 26th, however, lost the game 80-76.