Long-range shooting gets Owls to Charleston Classic final

Junior guard Shizz Alston Jr. made two 3-pointers, and sophomore guard Quinton Rose made five 3-pointers in Temple’s 88-74 win on Friday against Auburn University in the Charleston Classic semifinal round in South Carolina.

Junior guard Shizz Alston Jr. makes a bounce pass during Temple's 70-60 exhibition win against Jefferson University on Nov. 9. | SYDNEY SCHAEFER / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Quinton Rose didn’t garner a reputation as a perimeter shooter last season as a freshman.

He shot 29.6 percent from 3-point range in 32 games in the 2016-17 season. But Rose showed glimpses of sharpshooter potential in his six starts when he made threes at a 47.1 percent clip.

The sophomore guard shot 5-for-8 from 3-point range and scored 19 points to help Temple beat Auburn University, 88-74, in the semifinal round of the Charleston Classic at TD Arena in South Carolina on Friday.

Temple advances to face the winner of the game between Hofstra University and Clemson University on Sunday at 9:30 p.m.

The Owls scored 56 second-half points on 19-of-28 shooting, including 6-of-10 from 3-point range.

Temple made 10 3-pointers and shot 38.5 percent from behind the arc, while Auburn shot 24.2 percent from 3-point range.

Both teams struggled shooting in the first half. Auburn’s starters combined to shoot 5-for-29 from the field. Sophomore guard Mustapha Heron, who averaged 15.2 points per game last season and is the first five-star signee in school history, shot 1-for-9 in the first half.

Heron finished with eight points on 3-for-13 shooting. Junior forward DeSean Murray had the best performance of any Tigers starter with 10 points and 11 rebounds in 23 minutes.

Auburn sophomore forward Anfernee McLemore’s dunk with three minutes, 50 seconds left cut the Tigers’ deficit to six points. He led the Tigers with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

Temple outscored Auburn 13-5 after McLemore’s dunk. Rose made a 3-pointer on the next possession. During Temple’s next chance on the offensive end, Rose missed a heat-check 3-pointer, but senior forward Obi Enechionyia collected the rebound.

Rose had another chance to score when he drove through the lane. He missed the layup attempt, but junior guard Shizz Alston Jr. scored on a putback to put the Owls up by 11 points.

Alston, who shot 4-for-4 from 3-point range in the first half against Old Dominion University on Thursday, made 2-of-3 3-point attempts Friday. He finished with 18 points, five rebounds, four assists and no turnovers.

Enechionyia had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Temple’s other big men got into foul trouble. Junior center Ernest Aflakpui committed three fouls in six minutes and only grabbed one rebound. Sophomore center Damion Moore contributed nine points in 14 minutes off the bench, but he also committed three fouls.

Temple got more scoring from its bench than it did on Thursday. Sophomore guard Alani Moore II, who coach Fran Dunphy called the team’s most consistent 3-point shooter at Monday’s practice at Pearson Hall, shot 1-for-5 from 3-point range. Moore II shot 4-for-9 overall, dropped 10 points and dished three assists.

Early in the season, Temple has displayed an ability to do something it couldn’t last year. Temple shot 72.3 percent from the free-throw line during the 2016-17 season. The Owls shot 7-for-16 from the line in a three-point loss to UMass in November. The team has shot 80.1 percent through its first two games.

Temple will need a more consistent defensive effort on Sunday and moving forward to continue its success. The team held Old Dominion junior guard Ahmad Caver, a 2016-17 third-team Conference USA selection, to four points in 40 minutes on Thursday, but it also allowed the Monarchs to shoot 48.4 percent from the field in the second half. 

Auburn shot 24.4 percent from the field in the first half before it shot 50 percent in the second half despite missing two key players. Tigers sophomore guard Danjel Purifoy, who averaged 11.5 points per game last season, and sophomore center Austin Wiley, who averaged a double-double with the USA Basketball under-19 team in July, didn’t play.

The two are being withheld due to eligibility concerns related to an FBI investigation. Former assistant coach Chuck Person was arrested on Sept. 26 on federal bribery and corruption charges after allegedly giving the Purifoy and Wiley families $18,500 for a financial adviser.

Temple has a chance to win its second early-season tournament in a row after last year’s victory in the National Invitation Tournament Season Tip-Off.

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