Tulane has yet to win a basketball game in 2019, so the Temple Owls knew that they couldn’t slip up against the Green Wave if they have designs on making the NCAA tournament.
Little comes easy for the Owls, but they finally got some momentum late in the first half and extended it to the beginning of the second and rode it to Sunday’s 80-69 win in an American Athletic Conference game at the Liacouras Center.
Temple (21-8, 11-5 AAC) has two games remaining, Thursday at UConn (5-11 but dangerous) and Saturday at home with Central Florida (12-4). The Owls would earn a first-round bye in the AAC tournament with a win in either game. They also would earn a bye if Memphis (10-7 AAC) loses its final game against Tulsa. The top four teams earn a bye in the AAC tournament, which begins March 14 in Memphis.
For those really into deep stats, Temple is now 13-1 when celebrating mascot Hooter the Owl’s birthday. Several mascots, including the Flyers’ Gritty, joined in Hooter’s celebration.
Temple scored the final seven points of the first half to take a 43-30 lead, then extended it to 51-30 by scoring the second half’s first eight points.
Owls junior Quinton Rose scored a career-high 29 points.
“I was feeling it,” said Rose, who hit 13 of 21 shots. “I thought I could get to the basket any time and I was trying to have an emphasis on finishing when I got there, and I did so today.”
The 6-foot-8 Rose now has 1,295 career points but this performance stood out to coach Fran Dunphy.
"He finished at the rim as well as he had in any game he has played the last three years,” Dunphy said. “He was terrific.”
Senior guard Shizz Alston had 22 points and eight assists. Alston continues to move up in the Temple record books. When he hit his first three-pointer of the game, Alston set the school record with a three in 40 consecutive contests. That broke the mark of 39 that he shared with Dionte Christmas, whose senior year was 2009.
Alston says Christmas alerted him about the impending record.
"He tweeted at me yesterday and told me about it, so I didn’t think about it until then,” Alston said. “I just know I have to make more threes ...”
Alston also became the eighth player in school history to record 400 career assists. He now has 402.
Tulane (4-24, 0-16) has lost 18 in a row, with the last win coming Dec. 17, 2018 at home against Texas Southern. Coached by former 76ers guard Mike Dunleavy, Tulane showed some fight, cutting Temple’s lead to 56-48 on Connor Crabtree’s layup with 12 minutes, 6 seconds left. The Green Wave, who lost, 75-67, to visiting Temple on Feb. 2, got no closer, but made the Owls work throughout.
Dunleavy was an NBA head coach for 17 seasons, guiding four teams before taking over Tulane in 2016. Now finishing his third season at Tulane, he has a record of 24-66.
Samir Sehic, a 6-9 redshirt junior, led Tulane with 24 points.