Owls junior guard Quenton DeCosey (front) led the team with 21 points Wednesday night in Temple’s 77-59 win against Louisiana Tech in a National Invitation Tournament quarterfinal. The Owls will move on to play the University of Miami next Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. | Jenny Kerrigan TTN
Jaylen Bond had hit just 1 of his previous 15 attempts from 3-point range when he set his feet behind the arc along the baseline, and took a shot.
When he sank the 3-point attempt early in the first half, the junior forward and the rest of Temple’s offense had set the tone to what would be a productive night for its scorers Wednesday night in a 77-59 win against Louisiana Tech in a National Invitation Tournament quarterfinal at the Liacouras Center.
Temple shot 49 percent overall for the night, hitting 9 of its 18 shots from long range.
The team’s percentages were far from the 39 percent from the floor and 30 percent from beyond the arc that the team had posted this season entering Wednesday night’s game.
Junior Quenton DeCosey was essential to the team’s shooting success. The guard made 7 of his 11 attempts, hitting all three of his shots from deep, to lead the team in scoring with 21 points.
The junior has been a consistent offensive contributor as of late for the Owls. He’s scored in double figures in six of the team’s past seven games, and grabbed 11 rebounds against the Bulldogs for his first career double-double.
“I just wanted to come out and be aggressive,” DeCosey said. “Help my team advance and get to the Garden.”
Also contributing for the team were seniors Will Cummings and Jesse Morgan. Morgan tallied 17 points and six rebounds, while Cummings posted 15 points and six assists in his final game with the Owls at the Liacouras Center.
“I forgot about it until just now,” Cummings said about the experience of the final home game of his career. “Now, it’s bittersweet. It’s a great feeling. I wish there was a bigger crowd to go out with, but it’s a great feeling just to get a win in your last game here and to do it with these guys around me.”
The Owls previously met the Bulldogs on Nov. 17 in an 82-75 win, and turned the ball over 14 times.
Heading into this matchup, coach Fran Dunphy remembered the pressure Louisiana Tech’s defense had put on his team. The Owls were able to adjust and limit themselves to five turnovers in Wednesday night’s contest.
“We didn’t turn it over in the first half until Quentin drove it in the lane and they stripped it from him,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “We only turned it over four times in the second half, and each one of those it was actually Will just trying to do little too much … but I’ll allow him that space.”
The team’s next game will be next Tuesday at 7 p.m. against the University of Miami in a semifinal matchup at Madison Square Garden, the tournament’s annual hosting venue for the Final Four.
“Everybody that’s playing basketball should get a chance to play basketball at the Garden,” Cummings said. “It’s the stage of all stages.”
This is the first time Temple has reached the semifinals of the NIT since 2002 … Junior forward Devontae Watson was perfect from the floor and finished with nine points in a 4-for-4 performance. … In the late stages of the game, with a big lead, Dunphy was able to insert seniors Nick Pendergast and Jimmy McDonnell in the game for their last contest at the Liacouras Center.
Owen McCue can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Owen_McCue.