PHILADELPHIA (AP) With its leading scorer’s shot not falling, Temple got needed offense from two other sources.
Monty Scott scored 25 points and Nate Pierre-Louis added a career-high 23 points to help Temple to a 93-89 double-overtime win over UConn on Thursday night.
Quinton Rose, the Owls’ leading scorer, added 15 points while shooting 3 for 15 from the field and Alani Moore II netted 14 for the Owls (14-12, 6-7 American Athletic Conference).
“It was huge,” Owls coach Aaron McKie said of the play of Scott and Pierre-Louis. “We had to ride that out.”
Christian Vital tallied 21 points and Isaiah Whaley had 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Huskies (14-12, 5-8). UConn was playing its first game without freshman big man Akok Akok, who tore his left Achilles’ early in Sunday’s 64-61 home victory over Memphis.
“I loved how we fought,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said. “We battled, but we didn’t play well enough. Credit to Temple. They made enough plays to win it.”
The Owls, coming off Sunday’s 76-56 home defeat to Philadelphia Big 5 rival Villanova, went ahead for good in the second overtime on Pierre-Louis’ two free throws that made it 85-84. Temple’s lead was three, 89-86, after J.P. Moorman II’s layup with 57.6 left. After Alterique Gilbert missed a 3-pointer on UConn’s ensuing possession, Moore made a pair of free throws to put the Owls in front 91-86.
And they held on from that point.
“When you turn into a winning team, you’re able to win those nip-and-tuck games,” McKie said.
UConn went up 80-77 on Jalen Gaffney’s two free throws with 28.9 seconds left in the first OT, but Scott tied it with a 3 from the top of the key seven seconds later.
“It was a hard shot to make, but I was confident,” Scott said.
Vital’s jumper from the left elbow just before the buzzer rimmed out, forcing a second extra session.
Rose made it 65-57 with his first field goal with 3:40 left in regulation. Temple’s leading scorer had missed his first 10 tries from the field. UConn scored seven of the next nine points, capped by Vital’s follow basket with 1:33 to play, to pull within 67-63. Pierre-Louis then missed a 3-point try, but Moore dived on the floor for an offensive rebound.
Scott then missed the front end of a one-and-one with 48.2 seconds left, and Whaley scored on UConn’s ensuing possession. After Moore’s two free throws put Temple ahead 69-66 with 34.1 to play, Brendan Adams made the second of two free throws.
Rose then missed both free throws with 17.1 seconds left and, after a Huskies timeout, Whaley tied it at 69-all with a floater in the lane.
Scott’s runner at the regulation buzzer from just inside the 3-point line hit the back iron.
Temple had one of its better offensive games of the season, going 30 of 67 (44.8%) from the field. The Owls have made more than 30 field goals in just three games this season.
“When we’re making shots, I feel like we can play with anybody in the country,” McKie said.
Even in defeat, Hurley likes the path the Huskies are on.
“We’re not quite there as a program, but we’re close,” he said.
UConn: A perennial national powerhouse that won four national titles between 1999-2014 (1999, 2004, 2011 and 2014), the Huskies haven’t made the NCAA tournament since 2016. UConn will depart the American Athletic Conference after this season following seven seasons in the upstart league to rejoin the Big East. The Huskies’ only path to the NCAA tournament is to win the AAC conference tournament, something they’ve done just once –- in 2016.
Temple: Like UConn, Temple’s only path to the NCAA tournament is by winning the AAC conference title. Not only have the Owls never won the league tournament, but they’ve never advanced to the conference title game. The Owls made six straight NCAA tournaments from 2008-13 under Fran Dunphy, but they have advanced to just two of the last six seasons.
UConn: Hosts South Florida on Sunday.
Temple: Plays at ECU on Sunday.
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