After leading by 12 points, Temple University men’s basketball coach Fran Dunphy saw his team’s lead dwindle to two points and called a timeout with one minute, 34 seconds remaining.
Senior guard Shizz Alston Jr. assisted senior center Ernest Aflakpui after the timeout to give Temple (6-1) a four-point lead. Having to foul, Missouri (3-3) had no choice but to send Alston to the line twice in the final minute.
Alston made three free throws to lift the Owls to a 79-77 road win on Tuesday night at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Missouri.
Temple held a 42-32 halftime lead, but Missouri guards senior Jordan Geist and sophomore Mark Smith and sophomore forward Jeremiah Tillmon combined for 31 second-half points.
Geist made three 3-point shots in the final five minutes. The first sparked a 9-0 Missouri run and the second forced Dunphy to call the timeout.
A strong first half finish was enough to help the Owls secure a victory, despite Missouri’s late push in the second half.
With 3:03 left in the first half, junior guard Quinton Rose stole the ball from Smith, converted the fast break dunk and gave the Owls a lead they would never relinquish. Rose turned the ball over 40 seconds into the game but recorded 18 points, four steals and three assists without committing another turnover.
Rose’s performance, along with Alston’s 15 points and six assists, allowed Temple to hold a lead for the final 23:03 on Tuesday. The duo combined for 23 first-half points.
The Owls’ offense struggled at times to create scoring opportunities early in the first half and leaned on Rose to keep them in the game. Rose scored nine of Temple’s 21 points in the first 11 minutes.
Junior center Damion Moore scored eight points in eight second-half minutes while Aflakpui sat on the bench with three fouls. Moore finished the night with a season-high 10 points.
Aflakpui led all players with 12 rebounds, but his fouls hurt the Owls’ rebounding abilities.
Temple outrebounded Missouri 18-16 in the first half with Aflakpui playing 15 minutes. In the second half, the Tigers grabbed 22 rebounds to the Owls’ seven while Aflakpui was on the court for only 10 minutes.
Missouri shot 52 percent from the field and made 11 of their 19 3-point shots. However, the Tigers committed 15 turnovers to Temple’s five.
The Owls scored 20 points off turnovers and attempted 14 more shots than the Tigers on Tuesday.
Temple will play Big Five opponent Saint Joseph’s (3-3) at Hagan Arena on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.