Following a right-handed fast break dunk in the second half of Temple’s (8-6, 3-1 American Athletic Conference) 78-60 victory against East Carolina at the Liacouras Center, Quenton DeCosey smiled as he jogged down after totaling his 24th point Saturday night.
DeCosey led all scorers with 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting. The senior shot 4-of-5 from 3-point range in the second half after connecting on 1-of-3-attempts in the first half.
“I thought he was spectacular in the second half,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “I don’t think he guarded very well in the first half, but I thought he was really zoned in, locked in, in the second half.”
DeCosey has scored in double figures in six of the Owls’ last seven games. He leads the team this season with 15.6 points per game.
“Especially in the second half, my shot was feeling very good,” DeCosey said. “My teammates did a really good job of finding me. I felt really good tonight.”
Joining DeCosey in double-figure scoring was senior guard Devin Coleman, who totaled 17 points off the bench Saturday.
Coleman scored 14 points off the bench in the Owls’ 55-53 win against Connecticut Jan. 5.
“Not to me,” Coleman said when asked if he cared about starting.“It doesn’t matter at all. I just try to get out there with the right mindset and be aggressive and make plays for the team.”
Coleman knocked down a 3-pointer as time expired at the end of the first half to cut the Pirates’ lead to five, 38-33.
The Owls began the second half on a 9-0 on 3-pointers from DeCosey and Coleman to take a 42-38 advantage, their first lead since the 17:51 mark of the first half.
“I thought that was the biggest play in the game,” Dunphy said of Coleman’s 3-point shot at the end of the first half.
The Owls stretched their lead to 17 points with just under four minutes remaining after senior guard Josh Brown and Coleman connected on 3-pointers.
Brown scored 12 points Saturday night, which marks the sixth time he has reached double-figure scoring in the Owls’ last seven games.
Freshman guard Trey Lowe and junior forward Mark Williams each go their first start of season. Lowe did not appear in the second half after he was scoreless on 0-of-3 shooting in the first half. Williams also did not appear in the second half after he totaled four points on 2-of-3 shooting in the first half.
“We gave the opportunity to [freshman guard Levan Shawn] Alston on Tuesday, and we gave it to Trey to see how we would handle it,” Dunphy said. “He did a pretty decent job. It hard for him defensively.”
East Carolina led by as many as 11 points in the first half, but the Owls closed the first half on a 6-0 run in the final 1:44 to cut double-digit lead to five after the Coleman 3-pointer.
The Pirates shot 6-of-9 on 3-pointers in the first half. East Carolina came into the game shooting 37 percent from behind the 3-point arc, which ranked fourth in The American.
East Carolina came into Saturday’s game as one of the leaders in 3-point field goal defense, holding their opponents to 28.1 percent, which ranked No. 10 in Division I. The Owls shot 5-of-16 from 3-point range in the first half.
Michael Guise can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Michael_Guise