Alston’s career-high leads Temple men’s basketball past UConn

Senior guard Shizz Alston Jr. scored a career-high 34 points in Temple’s 78-71 win against Connecticut, helping the Owls clinch a first-round bye in the American Athletic Conference tournament.

Senior guard Shizz Alston is introduced before Temple's 80-69 win against Tulane on March. 2 at the Liacouras Center. | JUSTIN OAKES / THE TEMPLE NEWS

With his team leading by only three points with four minutes, 28 seconds remaining in the game, senior guard Shizz Alston Jr. stole the ball from Connecticut sophomore forward Josh Carlton and ran to the basket for a break-away dunk.

Alston scored a career-high 34 points and helped Temple University men’s basketball defeat UConn (14-16, 5-12 American Athletic Conference) 78-71 on Thursday at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut.

The Owls clinched a first-round bye in the American Athletic Conference tournament with the win. Temple (22-8, 12-5 The American) is fourth in The American with one game left to play.

Alston shot 12-of-14 from the field, including 4-of-5 from the 3-point line. His previous career-high was 31 points against the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Dec. 12.

Junior guard Quinton Rose scored 20 points and led the Owls with eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Nate Pierre-Louis scored 13 points and added seven rebounds.

Alston, Rose and Pierre-Louis combined for 67 of the Owls’ 78 points and were 7-of-12 from beyond the arc.

The Owls ended the game on an 18-11 run. The game was tied 60-60 with 5:37 remaining in the second-half. The game had seven ties and six lead changes.

Huskies junior guard Christian Vital led the team with 26 points off the bench. Vital shot 7-of-11 from the 3-point line. Carlton scored 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while grabbing seven rebounds.Sophomore forward Tyler Polley added 13 points.

Huskies senior Jalen Adams missed his seventh consecutive game due to an MCL Sprain that he suffered in UConn’s 81-63 loss to Temple on Feb. 6 at the Liacouras Center.  Adams is UConn’s leading scorer this season, averaging 17.0 points per game.

Redshirt sophomore guard Alterique Gilbert exited the game with 7:36 left in the second-half due to a facial injury that sent him to the emergency room. Gilbert only scored five points.

Both teams had 11 turnovers. However, Temple scored 17 points off of turnovers, while UConn only scored 10 points.

Temple dominated at the free throw line. The Owls were 17-of-20 from the free throw line, while the Huskies shot a poor 13-of-24 from the charity stripe.

Temple will return to the Liacouras Center on Saturday, hosting Central Florida (23-6, 13-4 The American) at 4 p.m. in coach Fran Dunphy’s last home game as head coach. UCF is currently No. 25 in the Associated Press Top 25.

Temple will also honor its two seniors, Alston and center Ernest Aflakpui, on its Senior Day on Saturday.

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