As Devin Coleman and coach Fran Dunphy stepped away from the crowd of students on the floor at the Liacouras Center, attempting to do an interview on the sidelines near center court, they were interrupted.
The fans lingering on the floor after storming the court following the Owls’ 89-80 win Sunday against Southern Methodist surrounded Coleman and broke out into an “MVP” chant for the senior guard.
Coleman scored a career-high 23 points on Sunday, converting all eight of his field goals the No. 8 team in the AP Top 25 poll, handing the Mustangs their first loss of the season.
“I can’t describe it,” Coleman said. “When I thought I had an open look, I put it up there, and it went in.”
At the 10:47 mark in the first half, junior guard Josh Brown dished the ball to Coleman on the left wing, where he converted his first 3-point basket of the night. Coleman totaled seven 3-pointers on Sunday.
One game after shooting 3-of-8 from the field with three misses from 3-point range in Temple’s 62-49 win against La Salle, Coleman hit a Temple milestone.
The senior tied Pepe Sanchez’ school record for 3-point field goal percentage in a game. Sanchez went 7-of-7 from 3-point range in Temple’s 85-82 loss to the University of Rhode Island on Feb. 16, 1997.
Coleman did not shoulder the offensive load by himself on Sunday. Five of his teammates finished the game with eight points or more, including senior guard Quenton DeCosey, who scored 19.
“The last thing you want to do is when you get hot you take bad shots,” Coleman said. “You kind of take yourself out of that zone. The key for me was to trust my teammates and find my shots and that’s what I did.”
Coleman started Temple’s first 12 games, scoring in double figures four times. His last start came on Jan. 2, when Temple lost 77-50 to Houston at the Liacouras Center, when he scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting from the field.
Since Coleman began coming off the bench in the Owls’ 55-53 Jan. 6 win against Connecticut, Temple has won five of its last six games and Coleman is averaging 15.6 points per game.
“That is the big thing, when we went to him and said we were going to do this, I said ‘I think we are going to have you come off the bench because you could be a big spark for us,’” Dunphy said. “He has never mentioned it or brought up about not having to start. He just wants his team to win.”
The win against Southern Methodist marks Temple’s third victory against a ranked American Athletic Conference team after beating then-No. 23 UConn and then-No. 22 Cincinnati on the road.
“He was great, and if you are going to win a game like this against this good of a basketball team or program, you are going to have to have special performances and his was certainly special to me,” Dunphy said. “There’s nothing cheap about any of the balls that went into the basket. They were dead in the hoop.”
Coleman is shooting 37.3 percent from the field this season. He is averaging 10.1 PPG, the second highest on the team behind DeCosey’s 15.8 PPG.
Sunday was also the third time in the last six games Coleman has totaled five-or-more 3-pointers.
“He was playing H.O.R.S.E,” Southern Methodist coach Larry Brown said. “You are going to have a hard time winning games when someone shoots like that.”
Connor Northrup can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.