With one second left on the clock, Commodores’ junior guard Scotty Pippen Jr. knocked down a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, tying the game 58-58 and sending the Owls into a five-minute overtime period.
“It’s a part of the game,” said head coach Aaron McKie. “You put yourselves in those situations, anything can happen and they did. He made the 3 so we had to regroup and get ready to play another five minutes.”
Temple University men’s basketball (6-3, 0-0 The American Athletic Conference) won 72-68 in their first official road game against Vanderbilt University (5-3,0-0, The Southeastern Conference) at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, Tennessee, Tuesday night.
The Owls and the Commodores got off to a slow start.
Temple’s offense flowed easily but struggled to put points on the board early on, resulting in a 41.9 scoring percentage to end the first half.
With four minutes to go in the first, the Owls trailed by four points, but managed to take the lead after converting six free throws.
However, Commodores’ sophomore guard Trey Thomas made a two-point basket at the minute mark, cutting the Owls’ lead to three points going into halftime.
Owls’ redshirt-freshman guard Damian Dunn scored six points in the first half, compared to his 17 points in the first half against the University of Pennsylvania on Dec. 4. This may be partially credited to Vanderbilt’s double and triple teaming attempts.
The rest of the team scored less than six points in the first half, totaling just 28 points.
The Commodores fared no better, averaging a 35.5 field goal percentage heading into the second half and went 12 for 27 in layups.
“Obviously neither team made shots,” said redshirt-sophomore guard Tai Strickland. “We didn’t shoot the ball well, and they didn’t shoot the ball well.”
The Owls came out strong after halftime and maintained control for the majority of the second half. Strickland, who totaled 21 points in his first game back from a leg injury, took over on both sides of the ball.
Temple’s offense slowly found its rhythm as the clock wound down, but in the final minute of the game, the Owls’ seven-point lead quickly diminished.
Back-to-back personal fouls by both teams with one minute remaining resulted in Temple scoring its final eight points from free throw attempts, with five points coming from Strickland.
Vanderbilt went into overtime with a newfound energy, scoring the first two points and eventually creating a five-point lead.
The Owls, once again, used free throws to take the lead. Dunn scored a 3-point basket at the 20-second mark, giving the Owls a four-point lead. Freshman guard Jeremiah Williams’ free throws clinched the win for the Owls.
Temple returns to Philadelphia to take on Big-5 rival Saint Joseph’s University (4-4,0-0, The Atlantic-10) on Dec. 11.