Owls swipe season-high 16 steals in win against South Florida

Junior forward Obi Enechionyia dribbles through defense in the second half of Temple's 86-76 win on Feb. 25 against Tulane at the Liacouras Center. HOJUN YU FOR THE TEMPLE NEWS

In their final regular season contest, the Owls picked up their second straight victory heading into next week’s American Athletic Conference tournament.

After a week off following a Feb. 25 double overtime win against Tulane, Temple beat South Florida 72-60 on Sunday in Tampa, Florida.

The Owls (16-15, 7-11 The American) held onto a small lead for most of the first half. Temple led 27-24 with three minutes, 28 seconds left in the first. Then, freshman guard Quinton Rose stole the ball and took it down the court for a fastbreak dunk.

Rose’s dunk started an 8-2 run for Temple as the Owls led 35-26 at a halftime. Redshirt-senior swingman Daniel Dingle and junior forward Obi Enechionyia combined to shoot 6-of-11 in the first half and score 18 of the team’s 35 points.

South Florida cut the Owls’ lead to five less than a minute into the second half. It was the closest the Bulls would get for the remainder of the game. Temple built its lead up to 10 at the 12:34 mark in the second half. The Owls held at least a seven-point advantage for the remainder of the contest.

Temple shot 43.4 percent from the field in the win. The Owls were 11-of-25 from 3-point range. Enechionyia made 4-of-8 attempts from deep, finishing with 14 points. Dingle led Temple in scoring with 17 points.

Rose and sophomore guard Shizz Alston Jr. were the team’s other two double-digit scorers, both finishing with 13 points. Alston also added six assists.

The Owls were fueled by their defense in the win. Temple recorded 16 steals and outscored South Florida 20-9 on points off turnovers on Saturday. Rose had six steals and Enechionyia had five steals, which were career highs for both players.

Temple will play East Carolina at 3:30 p.m on Thursday in the first round of the conference tournament in Hartford, Connecticut.

Owen McCue can be reached at owen.mccue@temple.edu or on Twitter @Owen_McCue.

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