With senior guard Quenton DeCosey struggling from the field, someone else needed to step up for the Owls on Sunday night in Houston.
Obi Enechionyia did just that.
Behind the sophomore forward’s career-high 26 points and seven rebounds, the Owls (17-9, 11-3 American Athletic Conference) came back from a 10-point second half deficit to defeat Houston 69-66 at Hofheinz Pavillion.
Enechionyia hit a 3-point shot to tie the game at 64 with 57 seconds left. Senior guard Devin Coleman, who scored eight of Temple’s last 11 points, gave the Owls their first lead since the 19:43 mark in the second half with a 3-point shot from the left wing with 16 seconds left.
After Cougars’ senior forward Devonta Pollard made a layup with less than seven seconds left and two made free throws by junior guard Josh Brown, Houston senior guard Rob Gray, Jr. missed a 3-point shot with no time left to secure the win for the Owls.
The Owls jumped out to a 13-point lead in the first half of Sunday night’s game, but Temple trailed 54-44 with 11:05 left in the game.
A 6-0 run by the Owls cut Houston’s lead to six points with 7:54 left. Houston kept the margin at six-or-more points until redshirt-junior guard/forward Daniel Dingle’s bucket with 5:07 left.
Coleman followed with a 3-point shot 31 seconds later to make it a one-point game. Enechionyia tied the game at 64 on a 3-point shot from the top of the key with 57 seconds left.
Temple lost to Houston 77-50 on Jan. 2 at the Liacouras Center. Coach Fran Dunphy’s squad shot 34.5 percent from the floor in that game compared to Houston’s 54.4 percent in that contest.
In Sunday’s contest, the Owls made 40.6 percent of their shots from the floor, and the Cougars made 36.7 percent of their attempts.
DeCosey, who leads the Owls in scoring at 16 points per game, shot 2-of-12 from the field on Sunday for eight points.
The Owls have now won six of their last seven games including five of their last five conference games.
The team sits at the top of The American’s conference standings, one game ahead of Southern Methodist, who the Owls defeated 89-80 on Jan. 24. Dunphy’s team is two games ahead of Cincinnati and Tulsa, which are tied for third place. Temple plays Tulsa on Tuesday.
Owen McCue can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Owen_McCue