Freshman guard Nate Pierre-Louis almost single handedly won Saturday’s game against Memphis for Temple.
He scored a career-high 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting, however, the Owls lost in the same fashion that stung them nearly two weeks ago against Cincinnati.
Memphis junior guard Kareem Brewton Jr. went to make a pass, but junior center Ernest Aflakpui deflected the ball. The pass attempt landed back in Brewton’s hands with space to shoot. He then made a fadeaway 3-pointer to give Memphis the lead with 0.7 seconds left in overtime before the Tigers (12-6, 3-2 American Athletic Conference) added two free throws to beat Temple (8-9, 1-5 The American), 75-72, at the Liacouras Center.
“We can’t keep letting games come down to the last shot,” junior guard Shizz Alston Jr. said. “We have to start putting teams away. It doesn’t come down to one play, but there’s a couple plays in there we could’ve affected this game, so it didn’t have to come down to that shot.”
“There’s not a lot to talk about to them after the game,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “We had our opportunities. If we fixate on the last half of minute, then everything that could’ve gone wrong for us did.”
Nate Pierre-Louis and Shizz Alston Jr. https://t.co/t1JdB3elft— Temple News Sports (@TTN_Sports) January 13, 2018
Temple trailed by four points with two minutes, 17 seconds remaining in the second half until Alston and senior forward Obi Enechionyia connected on back-to-back 3-pointers. Enechionyia’s 3-pointer from the corner tied the game at 61 with 1:14 remaining.
Alston finished the game with 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc. He also had five rebounds, a career-high seven assists, one block and one steal.
Dunphy drew up a play for redshirt-senior guard Josh Brown to give the Owls the lead, but he missed the layup. Brown hit the game-winning shot on Wednesday against Southern Methodist in Temple’s 66-64 victory.
Sophomore guard Quinton Rose didn’t start against the Tigers because he arrived a few minutes late to shootaround, Dunphy said. Rose is Temple’s leading scorer with an average of 14.7 points per game. He finished the contest scoring nine points in 22 minutes.
Pierre-Louis made his first career start in Rose’s place and filled the shoes of Temple’s leading scorer on offense from the inside and outside. He got to the hoop driving the lane and finished the game 3-of-8 on 3-point attempts.
Pierre-Louis went on a 9-0 run by himself midway through the second half that helped the Owls regain the lead. He putback a Rose missed layup under the basket to give Temple a 46-45 lead with 9:36 remaining in the contest.
Pierre-Louis had five rebounds, three steals, one block and one assist to go along with his 23 points.
Dunphy also put Pierre-Louis on Memphis’ leading scorer, junior guard Jeremiah Martin. In Memphis’ last game before Saturday, Martin was coming off a 28-point performance against Tulsa and a 31-point outing against Tulane.
Pierre-Louis made a steal on Martin in the midst of an 8-0 Owls run late in the second half that helped them send it into overtime.
Martin finished with a game-high 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field.
Sophomore center Damion Moore sat out of Saturday’s matchup against the Tigers with a right sprained ankle. He wore a boot on the bench. There’s not timeline for his return, Dunphy said.
Fran Dunphy https://t.co/1ab7Zt4g3M— Temple News Sports (@TTN_Sports) January 13, 2018
“[Pierre-Louis] is in the gym constantly, he’s the hardest worker we have,” Dunphy said. “It’s a pleasure to watch.
“It gave us a huge boost today,” Dunphy said of Pierre-Louis’ effectiveness on offense. “It had us in position to win the game, but we didn’t finish it like we could’ve.”