Fifteen minutes before Sunday’s game, redshirt-senior swingman Daniel Dingle and freshman guard Alani Moore II were shooting half-court shots. Moore gave up and jogged off the Liacouras Center court toward the locker room, but Dingle wanted one more shot. He banked it in, pointed to the sky and sprinted off the court.
After he made the half-court shot, Dingle was on fire from the 3-point line. He shot 6-for-7 from beyond the arc to lead the Owls with 22 points in their 83-74 against South Florida. Temple (13-11, 4-7 American Athletic Conference) earned its second consecutive conference win and its third in its last four games.
All of Temple’s starters scored at least 10 points and Temple shot 12-for-23 from the 3-point line.
“We’re a 3-point shooting team, that is what we do,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “I thought today, because of the good ball movement, we stepped up and made the open looks.”
In the second half, Temple started running its offense through sophomore center Ernest Aflakpui down low. Aflakpui responded by getting a new career-high of 14 points.
“I’ve been working on moves a lot,” Aflakpui said. “It’s just a confidence thing. I’ve been working so I know I’m gonna get there. And the coaches have been really good with me, and I think I took a big step forward today.”
After a free throw made by Aflakpui, Temple reached its largest lead of the game, a 27-point cushion with 16 minutes, 59 seconds left. Temple led by at least 20 points for more than 12 minutes in the second half.
But then the shots started falling for South Florida, which cut Temple’s lead below 20 for the first time at the 8:43 mark. South Florida cut its deficit to nine with 1:50 left but wouldn’t come closer for the rest of the game.
Dunphy put his trust in sophomore guard Shizz Alston Jr., who made all six of his free throw attempts in the last two minutes of the game.
“He’s our most experienced guard other than Dan [Dingle], who’s more of a hybrid,” Dunphy said. “We wanted the ball in Shizz’s hands at the end of the game and he stepped up and made his shots.”
The Bulls remain winless in the American and under interim coach Murry Bartow.
The Owls’ next game is at home on Thursday at 9 p.m. against Southern Methodist, the second-place team in The American. Temple lost to Southern Methodist in Dallas on Jan. 4 but beat the Mustangs at home last season.
Kevin Schaeffer can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @_kevinschaeffer. Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews and @TTN_Sports.