With his follow through still in the air and a smile on his face, Quenton DeCosey stood at the foul line and watched as his free throw rolled around the rim and into the hoop—totaling his 21st point in Temple’s (4-4) 77-73 win against the University of Pennsylvania Wednesday at The Palestra.
The senior guard scored 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting Wednesday. It was the third time this season the senior scored 20-or-more points. Last season, DeCosey scored 20-or-more points three times.
“He is an incredible college basketball player at this point,” Penn coach Steve Donahue said. “There are very few like him.”
DeCosey scored a season-low three points in the Owls’ 76-60 loss Nov. 5 to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Badgers held DeCosey to 1-of-6 shooting from the field and 1-of-3 from three-point range.
The loss was also the lone game this season the senior guard failed to reach double-digits in scoring.
“I just wanted to come out and be aggressive,” DeCosey said. “I was ready for this Big-5 matchup, and I wanted to come out aggressive. And that’s what I did.
Last season, DeCosey averaged 12.3 points per game and scored in double figures in all but 10 of the Owls’ 37 games.
“You put somebody small on him, he’s going to shoot over him,” Donahue said. “You put someone big on him, he’s going by him. He has so many aspects of his game.”
After a 3-pointer from Penn freshman guard Jackson Donahue with 50 seconds remaining cut the Owl’s lead to 70-65, junior guard Josh Brown missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity. Quakers’ senior center Darien Nelson-Henry converted a tip in on the following possession to bring his team within three with 29 seconds left.
The Owls made seven of their final nine free throw attempts in the final 50 seconds of the game to hold off the Quakers’ comeback attempt.
Penn sophomore guard Antonio Woods, who totaled 22 points Wednesday, scored the Quakers’ final six points of the game and helped his team trim the Owls’ 12-point lead to single digits in the final minutes of the game,.
“They are a great team,” senior forward Jaylen Bond said. “Like all Big 5 teams, they are a tough matchup for us. We knew they weren’t going to go away. We had to be smart and stay within the team concept, and we were able to come out with a win.”
With five minutes remaining in the game, the Quakers cut the Owls’ lead to five points, 61-56. The Owls responded with five points from DeCosey and a 3-pointer from freshman guard Levan Shawn Alston, Jr. to push their lead to double digits with three minutes remaining.
“[Penn] was in attack mode pretty much the entire game,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “It seemed like they made every [3-pointer] down the stretch.”
After the Quakers jumped out to an early 8-3 lead the Owls responded with a 6-0 run to take their first lead of the game, 9-8, with 14:02 on the clock.
With 13:52 remaining in the frame and the Owls trailing 11-9, sophomore forward Obi Enechionyia picked up his second foul and sat out the remainder of the first half. While Enechionyia was on the bench, the Owls outscored the Quakers by 10 points.
The Owls took a 12-11 lead on a three-point play from DeCosey with 13:25 on the clock in the first half and never trailed in the final 33 minutes of play.
Michael Guise can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Michael_Guise