Entering the final seconds of Saturday’s contest against Memphis, Josh Brown had not recorded a single point.
Yet, with 2.4 seconds left in regulation, the sophomore guard caught a pass from senior Will Cummings and banked a mid-range jump shot to win the game for the Owls in a 61-60 final.
Brown’s heroics helped Temple (17-7, 8-3 American Athletic Conference) forget a first half in which it hit 23 percent of its field goal attempts.
Fueled by forward Shaq Goodwin, who had 15 of his 23 rebounds in the first half, the Tigers claimed a 29 -14 rebounding advantage during the first 20 minutes of play. Memphis (14-9, 6-4 The American) collected 11 of those rebounds on the offensive end.
Despite the poor shooting and the Tigers’ early domination on the glass, Temple found itself within 10 at halftime. The Owls got to the line in the half, and converted 15 of their 20 free-throw attempts in the first half to keep things from getting out of hand.
Coach Fran Dunphy’s squad came out of the break playing inspired basketball. An 11-2 run to start the half cut the Tigers lead to one with just more than 16 minutes to play.
Without freshman Obi Enechionyia, who was sidelined with a sprained ankle, Temple looked for someone else to help them off the bench.
Redshirt-sophomore Daniel Dingle filled the role nicely with eight points and six rebounds. He hit two big 3-pointers that helped get the team back in the game.
The Owls could not quite close the gap for the better part of the second half. Each time they got close, Memphis responded.
At the 7-minute, 10-second mark in the second half, Memphis forward Austin Nichols exited the game with an ankle injury. Nichols had 17 points, eight rebounds and six blocks before he left. Temple took advantage of his absence and pulled even two minutes later.
The Owls took their first lead with 4:24 left in the game when junior Jaylen Bond converted 2 of 2 free-throw attempts.
Free throws played a big part in the contest, as the Owls could have sealed the game earlier had they shot better from the line in the second half. After shooting 75 percent from the charity stripe in the first half, the team shot less than 50 percent in the latter half.
Cummings had a particularly difficult day at the line, hitting 5 for 11 attempts overall.
While senior guard Jesse Morgan shot 3-of-12 overall, and 0-for-3 from 3-point range, he went 10-for-10 from the free-throw line en route to his team-leading 16 points. Cummings finished with 13, while junior guard Quenton DeCosey chipped in 10.
Junior center Devontae Watson led the Owls on the glass with nine rebounds.