Offense leads Temple men’s basketball to fourth straight win

Sophomore guard Quinton Rose (left) throws down a one-handed dunk during Temple’s 90-73 win against East Carolina on Wednesday at the Liacouras Center. | SYDNEY SCHAEFER / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Quinton Rose scored 17 second-half points to help propel Temple (14-10, 6-6 American Athletic Conference) to a 90-73 win against East Carolina (9-14, 3-9 The American) on Wednesday night at the Liacouras Center.

The sophomore guard finished with a game-high 23 points and six rebounds on 9-of-16 shooting in the Owls’ fourth straight win. The win is Temple’s 1,900th in program history.

Rose made his first seven shots to begin the second half, including big dunks on two straight possessions to give the Owls their first double-digit lead of the half.

Junior guard Shizz Alston Jr. assisted on both of Rose’s dunks around the 13-minute mark of the second half. The first dunk was off a fast-break, alley-oop pass by Alston from a few steps past half court. On the next possession, Alston hit a cutting Rose who threw down a dunk over East Carolina freshman forward Dimitri Spasojevic.

“I think [the dunks] really gave us energy,” Rose said. “Shizz made two great passes, and I was able to finish them. I felt like that gave us a lot of energy after.”

With 17 minutes, 47 seconds left in the second half, East Carolina redshirt-freshman guard Shawn Williams hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 44. The Pirates tied the game for the first time since it was 2-2 with 18:41 left in the first half.

Coach Fran Dunphy immediately called a timeout. Temple proceeded to outscore East Carolina 46-29.

“From that point on, they understood we were in a dog fight,” Dunphy said. “They made some shots after, but so did we. I think our defense tightened up. Then we got that one stretch where we were able to get separation where [redshirt-senior guard Josh Brown] was able to get the lead to seven.”

Brown scored 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting, which tied a career-high he previously set on Nov. 17, 2014 against Louisiana Tech. He also had eight rebounds, three assists, one steal and one turnover.

Six Owls scored in double figures for the first time since the 2016-17 season-opening overtime win against La Salle. Alston scored 14, junior center Ernest Aflakpui had 10 points and freshman guard Nate Pierre-Louis had 10.

Temple grabbed 40 rebounds, one short of its season-high set in its win against Penn on Jan. 20 at The Palestra.

Freshman forward J.P. Moorman II recorded his first career double-double with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Moorman became the first Temple freshman to post a double-double with points and rebounds since Lavoy Allen in the 2008 NCAA Tournament.

Dunphy is pleased with Moorman and the “great work” he has put in with other freshman contributors Pierre-Louis and forward De’Vondre Perry.  

“He’s got a great nose for the ball, he’s got great hands, so when he gets the ball he typically he keeps the ball,” Dunphy said. “He made a big 3-pointer that I think will help him grow as a player.”

Perry made his first career start. Senior forward Obi Enechionyia, who leads the team with 38 blocks and 6.5 rebounds per game and averages 11.3 points per game, missed the game with the flu. Perry grabbed one rebound, blocked a shot but didn’t score in 11 minutes.

Sophomore center Damion Moore returned to the court after missing seven games with a sprained right ankle. He scored four points and grabbed two rebounds in nine minutes.

The Owls’ season-high 90 points gave them their fourth straight game of scoring 80 or more points. Temple has averaged 84.7 points over that stretch.

Dunphy attributes the offensive turnaround to getting to the free-throw line more and turning the ball over less. The Owls attempted a season-high 26 free throws, converting 20 of them on Wednesday.

“Getting to the line is a big thing for us,” Dunphy said. “We haven’t been a great get-to-the-line team, and hopefully we are getting better at it.”

Temple will look to win its fifth straight game on Saturday in Tampa, Florida, against South Florida. The Bulls (8-17, 1-11 The American) have lost four in a row and are in last place in The American.

Michael Zingrone
can be reached at michael.zingrone@temple.edu Or you can follow Michael on Twitter @mjzingrone Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews

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