For the second time since the 2011-12 season, when the Owls knocked off No. 3 Duke, a Temple basketball game at the Wells Fargo Center resulted in a postgame mob on the floor.
Temple didn’t just notch Frank Dunphy’s sixth defeat of a Top 10 team during his seven-year tenure as Owls coach Monday night against Kansas. The Owls shot 69 percent from the floor in the second half as opposed to the Jayhawks’ 25 percent, and averaged 58.3 percent overall en route to a 77-52 thumping of the No. 10-ranked team in the Associated Press Division I Top 25 poll.
“I’d love to tell you what the secret is. [I have] no clue,” Dunphy said. “We just played hard. I think our kids really decided they were going to play as good as they could play tonight, and they did.”
When the Owls held a 30-point lead with 1 minute, 12 seconds left on the clock, students began filing to the front of their designated section, preparing for the rush that was to come while breaking out in the traditional “I Believe” chant as time continued to wind down.
“It sinks in when they rush the court,” Cummings said of the student section. “… I didn’t think they were going to rush the court, but it happened. It’s just a great feeling, just to go out there and celebrate with the fans that stick with us with the season we had last year and they still come out to games. It was a great crowd tonight and we wanted to give them something to celebrate.”
When time expired, guards Will Cummings (19), Quenton DeCosey (18) and Jesse Morgan (17) had combined for 54 of Temple’s 77 points. Kansas guard Frank Mason III had notched 20 points to lead all scorers, but he finished as the Jayhawks’ lone double-figure scorer.
Junior Jaylen Bond and freshman Obi Enechionyia paced the floor on the glass at the forward position, compiling rebound totals of 10 and eight, respectively.
Bond further established his impact in the first half, when junior Devin Coleman helped force the ball loose from the Jayhawks in Temple’s offensive zone. Bond took possession and promptly sent the Temple supporters on their feet with an emphatic one-handed dunk that extended Temple’s advantage to 12 points midway through the half.
“We understand that they’re a good team and all that, but we do what we do,” Cummings said. “We need to go out there and make stops. … We wanted to go out there and make big plays and have our team know [to] always keep their confidence, go out there and play free. Play loose. Don’t worry about the big stage and go out there and have fun.”
Cummings finished with a 5-for-8 (63 percent) mark from the floor, his best shooting average in a game this season, while Morgan picked up from his 16-point debut against the University of Delaware Thursday, hitting three 3-point shots amid a 5-for-10 performance from the floor.
What started as a 7-0 run from the opening tip evolved into Temple (8-4) extending its advantage to a 14-point lead after roughly 12 minutes of play in the first half. The Owls’ lead stood at a 10-point difference at halftime, after Jayhawks forward Perry Ellis drained a 3-point jump shot at the buzzer.
Cummings knocked down 2 of 3 attempts from the floor in the half, while shooting 6-for-6 from the free-throw line en route to leading Temple with 11 points at halftime.
The Jayhawks (9-2) hit two consecutive jump shots off the mark in the second half that cut Temple’s lead to a six-point difference. From that point, the Owls outscored Kansas, 42-23, the rest of the way.
From the outset, Temple’s 12-of-13 mark from the foul line in the first half compared to Kansas’ 0-of-3 total at the break helped create the initial difference. Temple finished on 14-of-19 shooting from the free-throw line, while Kansas hit 9 of its 15 overall attempts.
“One of the things we talked about was to keep them off the line,” Dunphy said. “I didn’t know how successful we were going to be with that, but I thought we did about as good a job on the defensive end as we could.”
The Owls also won the turnover battle, with Kansas turning the ball over 17 times as opposed to Temple’s 12 turnovers.
“They didn’t pressure us, and we still managed 13 turnovers in the first half,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. “A lot of it was self-inflicted, but also they played good defense and they were much quicker. … Give them credit, but we didn’t help ourselves much on that end at all.”
The Owls will have a six-day layoff from competition until they tip off against Delaware State at the Liacouras Center Sunday at noon.
Temple notched its first win against a ranked opponent since Feb. 16 last season, when it knocked off then-No. 23 Southern Methodist, 71-64, at the Liacouras Center … Along with Dunphy securing his sixth win against a Top 10 team, Temple has now defeated a Top 25 opponent for the eighth consecutive season … Freshman Obi Enechionyia’s total of eight rebounds was a season high … An announced figure of 11,188 people attended the contest.
Andrew Parent can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Andrew_Parent23.