Written By Tom Hanslin @tomhanslin
MEMPHIS– Josh Brown contributed one made basket for the Owls Saturday afternoon, but the basket he made was the game-winner.
Trailing by one in the final seconds of play, Owls guard Will Cummings found Sophomore teammate Josh Brown open for a look near the key, as Brown banked in a jumper with 2.4 seconds remaining to put the Owls ahead 61-60 as time expired for Temple’s fifth straight conference win.
Late-second heroics were barely a story line Saturday afternoon, as the Owls managed to escape a great deal of adversity in the first half. Memphis opened up the game strong on the boards and effective in shot selection, as the Owls were manhandled by the Tigers’ offensive threats from star forwards Austin Nichols and Shaq Goodwin. While Temple struggled from the floor early, they looked for answers on the charity stripe, as Senior guard Jesse Morgan nailed ten free throws on ten total attempts from the line. Temple managed to trim the Memphis lead at halftime to ten points, 38-28, but the lack of made shots appeared to be the Owls’ silent killer walking in to the locker room.
As the second half began, Temple flipped the script, outscoring the Tigers 33-22 by the final whistle. The Owls’ rally began with a 10-2 run and pulled away twice within a point of the Tigers’ lead. Tension rose midway through the second half as Tigers’ forward Austin Nichols left the game with an apparent ankle injury, ultimately eliminating the dominant presence in the front court for Memphis. Temple took advantage of the Tigers’ loss, and tied the game at 54 with a layup. With 1:24 remaining, Temple earned their first lead of the contest in credit to a baseline jump shot by Jaylen Bond. It was not until the nine second mark when Tigers’ guard Kedren Johnson put Memphis up 60-59 with a layup, but the Owls immediately responded as Brown brought home the winning bucket.
Temple now improves to 17-7 on the season, 8-3 in American Athletic Conference play. The Owls’ journey returns home Tuesday evening as they host the potent 16-6 Cincinnati Bearcats.
GAME NOTES: Jesse Morgan lead the Owls in scoring with 16 points, ten earned from the free throw line. The Owls made only nineteen buckets in the game, finishing with a field goal percentage of 33%. Freshman forward Obi Enechionyia did not see playing time in Saturday’s game, as he suffered a sprained ankle in practice on Thursday. Enechionyia’s absence lead to a large amount of playing time for guard Daniel Dingle, who finished with eight points and six rebounds in 25 minutes on the floor. The defensive star for Memphis was forward Shaq Goodwin, who finished the game with a career high 23 total rebounds while sitting on the bench for only one whole minute. Austin Nichols was the Tigers’ leading scorer with 17 points, but did not return to action after suffering a severe ankle injury late in the second half. Memphis outnumbered the Owls 45-36 on the boards, but also lead in turnovers committed 15-7. Temple improves to 6-3 on the road, and scored an exact 61 points for the second consecutive game.