Williams lifts Owls to victory

Junior forward Mark Williams scored a season-high 16 points off the bench on Saturday in Tempe’s 62-60 defeat of Central Florida.

Coming into Saturday’s game against Central Florida, Mark Williams had not scored more than nine points in a game this season.

The junior forward scored a game-high 16 points off the bench in the Owls’ (14-8, 8-3 American Athletic Conference) 62-60 win against the Knights at CFE Arena in Orlando, Florida.

In 21 games this season, Williams was averaging 3.3 points per game, scoring more than five points in four games this season.

In his three years on Main Campus, Williams has scored in double figures five times, including a career-high 24 points in the Owls’ 76-67 win against University of Pennsylvania on Dec. 11, 2014.

After senior guard Devin Coleman split a pair of free throws with 18 seconds remaining in the game to give the Owls a two-point lead, the Knights’ A.J. Davis was credited with a tip-in basket off a missed 3-pointer as time expired.

The referees reviewed the shot and determined the redshirt-sophomore guard/forward did not release the shot before the buzzer, giving the Owls their sixth win in the last seven games.

With 2:22 remaining in the game, sophomore forward Obi Enechionyia’s jump shot gave the Owls a 58-56 lead. On Central Florida’s next possession, senior forward Staphon Blair tied the game on a layup with two minutes remaining.

Senior guard Quenton DeCosey put the Owls back in front with an and-one with 1:46 left in the game.

DeCosey and Enechionyia finished with 29 combined points, joining Williams as the lone Owls totaling double-digit points.

After a 36-32 halftime lead, the Owls held onto their lead for the seven eight minutes of the second half.

When senior forward Shaheed Davis split a pair of free throws at the 12:23 mark to bring the Knights within one point, 46-45, DeCosey turned the ball over on the Owls’ following possession, leading to a 3-pointer from South Florida redshirt-junior guard Matt Williams.

The Knights increased their lead to four with 6:31 remaining, but the Owls closed the game on a 12-6 run to seal the victory.

The Owls, who have eight game left before the conference tournament begins, have home games this week against Connecticut, which sits two games behind Temple in The American standings, and Villanova, the No. 4 team in the AP Top 25 poll.

Michael Guise can be reached at michael.guise@temple.edu or on Twitter @Michael_Guise

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