Temple kept its NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
The Owls (15-10, 7-6 American Athletic Conference) beat South Florida (8-18, 1-12 The American), 73-55, in Tampa, Florida, on Saturday. With the victory, Temple extended its winning streak to five games and has won seven of its past eight games.
South Florida clawed at Temple’s lead in the second half.
The Bulls trailed, 46-44, with 11 minutes, 36 seconds left in the half.
Shortly after senior forward Isaiah Manderson’s bucket that cut South Florida’s deficit to two points, the Owls exploded for a 17-3 run.
The Owls shot 40.9 percent from 3-point range — about 6 percent better than their season average — in the victory against the Bulls. Redshirt-senior guard Josh Brown and senior forward Obi Enechionyia hit back-to-back 3-pointers that helped Temple extend its lead to 60-47 with 6:52 left.
Enechionyia returned to the starting lineup against the Bulls after missing Wednesday’s game against East Carolina with the flu. He scored seven points on 2-of-8 shooting and grabbed four rebounds.
Temple and South Florida ended the first half tied at 30 after Brown made a layup as the clock hit zero.
Sophomore guard Quinton Rose ended the first half with four points on 1-of-6 shooting from the field. He finished the game leading the Owls in scoring. Rose scored 20 points and shot 6-for-11 from the field in the second half.
Rose stole an inbounds pass and finished with a dunk that helped the Owls open up the second half on a 7-0 run and take a 37-30 lead with 18:19 left in the game.
Junior guard Shizz Alston Jr. also had one of his game-high five assists during that run. He hit junior center Ernest Aflakpui under the basket for an easy layup. Along with the five assists, Alston finished the game with 19 points, five rebounds and two steals.
Alston has scored in double figures in every game during Temple’s winning streak.
Freshman guard Nate Pierre-Louis and freshman forward J.P. Moorman II each chipped in five points off the bench.
The Owls will look to continue their winning streak against Wichita State on Thursday at Charles Koch Arena in Kansas. Temple beat Wichita State (18-5, 8-3 The American), then-ranked No. 16 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, 81-79, on Feb. 1 at the Liacouras Center.