Clutch free throws secures victory for Owls

Temple University men’s basketball defeated the University of Tulsa 69-64 on Wednesday night, marking its third straight conference win.

Nick Jourdain, a freshman forward, scored a career-high 23 points in Temple's win against the University of Tulsa on Jan. 12. | NOEL CHACKO / FILE

Temple University men’s basketball (10-6, 3-2, The American Athletic Conference) clinched a 69-64 victory against the University of Tulsa (6-8, 0-3, The American) on Wednesday night after a strong offensive showing and clutch free throws. 

Three minutes into the contest, Owls’ freshman forward Nick Jourdain tied it at six with a two-point basket. The Owls then took the lead and maintained it through consistent shooting and a strong offensive flow, leading at the half 31-28. 

Jourdain led the team in points with a career-high of 23, scoring 11 in the first half. He was coming off a previous career-high of 16 points in a 78-75 win against East Carolina University (10-5, 1-2 The American).

“Beyond this, it’s just my teammates and my coaches just instilling confidence in me,” Jourdain said. “Just letting me know, keep playing and just letting me know that I got talent, I got skill to keep pushing.”

Owls’ redshirt-freshman guard Damian Dunn was the second-highest scorer, with 17 total points, including 13 in the second half.

Temple struggled with turnovers throughout the game, but held the Golden Hurricane to a scoring drought for almost five minutes halfway through the second half. The Golden Hurricane eventually broke through late in the game, which kept the point margin close until the very end.

“It’s growth,” said head coach Aaron McKie. “This growth is part of a winning team. We will be in tight games.”

McKie resumed his duties as head coach last night after being placed on the COVID-19 protocol list on Jan. 4. Assistant coach Monté Ross coached in McKie’s place for the previous two games.

The Owls went 19 for 23 from the free-throw line, a major improvement in a department they’ve previously struggled in. 

“We were fortunate down the stretch to be able to make our free throws,” McKie said. “That helped us, you know, win this game.”

The Owls will return home to the Liacouras Center to host Wichita State University (9-6, 0-3, The American Athletic Conference) on Jan. 19 at 7 p.m.

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