Temple takes down Cal in Legends Classic consolation game

BROOKLYN – The Temple Owls men’s basketball team was lead by Quinton Rose and Shizz Alston Jr. to take down California, 76-59, at the Barclays Center Tuesday night. The junior-senior duo bounced back from struggles on Monday to lead the Owls with 23 and 15 points, respectively.

Alston Jr. and Rose not only led the way for the Owls, but Alston Jr. found Rose for two alley-oops on Tuesday and three times in the entire tournament.

“I never thought both Quinton and I would both play so poorly in the same game,” Alston Jr. said. “Tonight we both bounced back and played well and it helped us get out of here on a win.”

Alston Jr. also had 10 assists en route to his second career points-assists double-double. Cal had 10 assists as an entire team.

“Our overall ball movement was good tonight,” head coach Fran Dunphy said. “We did a good job getting the ball into the middle of the floor, even when [Cal] switched to a zone in the second half.”

Temple came running strong out of the gate, starting on a 22-12 run. Cal’s Darius McNeil, Andre Kelly, Paris Austin and Matt Bradley finished in double figures, and it made multiple offensive pushes to cut the Owls’ lead. Nevertheless, the Owls never trailed in the game.

The Owls continued their trend of being a strong second-half team, scoring 44 points on 67.9 percent shooting from the field and 54.5 percent from three in the final 20 minutes.

“I don’t think there’s any rhyme or reason for some of our slow starts this season,” Dunphy said. “Sometimes it’s just one or two plays early that we don’t execute on and then we’re playing from behind.”

Nate Pierre-Louis continues to be a bright spot for the Owls, contributing with 9 points and 9 rebounds against Cal. The 6’4″ sophomore guard is third on the team in scoring behind Rose and Alston Jr. with 12.7 points per game and second on the team in rebounding with 7 rebounds per game, trailing only the team’s starting big man, Ernest Aflakpui, who averages 7.2.

Tuesday was also the first game all season Pierre-Louis was held to single-digits in scoring.

“Nate is a pain in the butt for other teams to play against,” Dunphy said. “He doesn’t always do everything right all the time because he gets so crazed on the court but he’s been really good for us all season.”

The Owls have a week off before starting a stretch of three consecutive away games at Missouri, St. Joe’s, and Villanova. Following Saturday’s win, the Owls will carry a 5-1 record into the road trip.

“Honestly, I think the biggest thing we could use right now is some rest,” Alston Jr. said. “We definitely got a tough stretch coming up.”

Photo: Irish Haines

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