Free throws proved to be the difference late in the game on Saturday. The Owls scored their last five points from the line in the final minute of the overtime showdown against USF pulling them ahead as they won 82-80.
The Owls went into overtime knotted at 68 but quickly jumped out to a six-point lead, in huge part to Nate Pierre-Louis, who ended with 22. The Owls were fouled a number of times down the stretch, which pulled them ahead by five with six seconds to go. A Xavier Castaneda three-pointer by USF brought them within two points, but only one second remained, so Temple hung on to win.
USF fought hard late in regulation to get into overtime. Trailing fourteen at the start of the half, 37-23 was not ideal but they managed to go on a 15-3 run to start the second half and make it a close one. They took their first lead with 13 minutes left and they looked like they had all of the momentum.
Temple would not give up, as they battled with USF until the final minutes. They lead by three with 47 seconds left, 68-65, right after two Shizz Alston, Jr. free throws. With 28 seconds left, South Florida’s LaQuincy Rideau nailed a three-pointer to tie the game. Temple had the ball last in regulation, with a chance to win it all, but a missed Alston three sent things into overtime, where the Owls prevailed.
The Owls had another great game at the free throw line, as they shot, 23-28 from the line. Earning their points at the line has been something that Coach Fran Dunphy preaches to his guys every game.
Another phenomenal game was turned in by Pierre-Louis as he continued his high scoring games. Alston ended with 20 and Quinton Rose had 16. A much needed 12 points were added off of the bench by J.P. Moorman, the sophomore forward, who played reasonable minutes in the win.
For USF, they were led by Alexis Yetna who had 24 points and shot 10-14 from the field.
The Temple Owls move to 13-3 on the year, and 3-1 in the division. They trail only UCF in the AAC standings. The Owls play next at ECU on Wednesday, January 16. ECU is currently 8-7 after a loss to Memphis.