Cincinnati hits last-second shot to beat Temple

Junior forward Jacob Evans III hit a last-second shot to help Cincinnati beat Temple 55-53 at the Liacouras Center on Thursday.

Sophomore guard Quinton Rose attempts to steal a pass off junior forward Jacob Evans III during Temple's 55-53 loss to Cincinnati at the Liacouras Center on Thursday. | SYDNEY SCHAEFER / THE TEMPLE NEWS

It isn’t coach Fran Dunphy’s style to get called for technical fouls, he said.

But he got called for one against Cincinnati, the No. 19 team in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, that led to the Owls (7-7, 0-3 American Athletic Conference) losing to the Bearcats (13-2, 2-0 The American), 55-53, at the Liacouras Center on Thursday.

After junior center Ernest Aflakpui got called for an offensive foul, Dunphy smacked a water bottle off the scorer’s table onto the court. Bearcats senior forward Gary Clark hit 1-of-2 free throws after the technical to make it a one-point game.

“I’m usually pretty good at grabbing the bottle and I didn’t grab it, I fumbled it and went out on the court,” Dunphy said.

“I don’t get technical fouls,” he added. “I can’t tell you the last time I had one.”

Two minutes later, Cincinnati junior forward Jacob Evans III hit a jump shot over redshirt-senior guard Josh Brown to seal the victory for the Bearcats. Evans III poured in 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting, six rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block.

“[Brown’s] a solid defender,” Evans III said. “I just tried to use my size to get a shot up on the rim.”

“He just made a difficult shot,” Dunphy said. “I thought Josh did everything he wanted to do, but Evans just found a way to get the ball in the basket. Pretty impressive shot.”

Cincinnati didn’t allow the Owls to score a single field goal in the final five minutes of the game.

Temple’s only points in that stretch came off sophomore guard Alani Moore II’s three free throws after he was fouled by sophomore guard Jarron Cumberland. Moore hit all three attempts, however, Evans III’s shot gave the Bearcats the edge.

Senior forward Kyle Washington got into foul trouble early in the game He missed a good amount of the second half after he picked up his fourth foul with nine minutes, 27 seconds left in the contest.

Senior forward Obi Enechionyia said prior to the game the Owls noticed Washington is foul prone and they attempted to get him trouble early.

But once Washington re-entered the game at the 3:39 mark, he drilled a 3-pointer in the corner that helped the Bearcats take the lead. Washington led Cincinnati in scoring with 18 points and also grabbed six rebounds.

“Foul trouble had us playing unusual lineups a lot of the night, so that had us distorted offensively,” Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. “Kyle is a guy that gives them a lot of trouble with his ability to score, and it was hard to play him because he got his third early and he got his fourth early.”

Enechionyia found a rhythm early on offense after struggling in the previous two games against Houston and Tulane. He scored a team-high 14 points on 3-of-8 shooting on 3-pointers and corralled eight rebounds.

Temple’s leading scorer, sophomore guard Quinton Rose, struggled to find his shot against the Bearcats. He didn’t make his first field goal until the 5:16 mark of the second half. He finished with a season-low two points on 1-of-6 shooting.

“[Quinton] had a couple of decent looks, especially later in the second half that just didn’t go,” Dunphy said.

Temple’s next game is on Sunday against Central Florida (11-4, 2-1 The American), which earned a top-25 win against the University of Alabama earlier in the season.

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