Temple trusted its hot hand with the game on the line in overtime against UConn.
It wasn’t that of Temple’s captain and leading scorer, Quinton Rose. Instead, head coach Aaron McKie ran a play that targeted redshirt junior guard Monty Scott, who was open at the top of the key for a game-tying three. He sank the shot with seconds on the clock and sent the Liacouras Center into a frenzy.
That shot felt momentous –– not just for the Owls, who went on to beat the Huskies in double overtime, but for a transfer player trying to find consistency as a scoring threat on a team that needs one. That shot, part of a season-high 25-point performance, felt like a turning point for Scott, who has been looking for one all season.
“It was a hard shot to make, but I was confident enough to put it down,” Scott said. “I think it was just me being more aggressive than I normally am. I knew I had to step up and I’m used to taking contested shots.”
Scott transferred to Temple last year from Kennesaw State in Georgia, where he led the Owls with 17.3 points per game in 29 starts.
After sitting out last season, Scott was expected to be a reliable shooter off the bench for Temple this year. But in his first 20 games, Scott averaged 4.4 points and shot 32.4% from the field while averaging less than 17 minutes.
Back-to-back double-digit performances against Miami and St. Joseph’s were followed by consecutive scoreless games against Rider and UCF. Finding consistency was difficult.
“It’s a new environment for him,” McKie said. “You would like for it to happen for him right away. But he’s getting adjusted to playing with these guys, he didn’t play with them last season. But they’re looking for him. That’s the good thing about this. He’s aggressive, he scores the ball, and I want to continue to put him in position to do so.”
In Temple’s last six games, Scott has shot 51% from the field, averaging 16 points per game in 30.8 minutes. He played a major role in Temple’s 19-point comeback against SMU on Feb. 8 and scored a career high. He broke that record two games later with a dominant game to edge out UConn.
Temple fans may have been surprised by his breakout success, highlighted by clutch, contested shots. His teammates were not.
“He does that every single day in practice,” junior guard and captain Nate Pierre-Louis said. “Every single day.”
Scott feels he has found his footing in the home stretch of a disappointing Temple season. His second-half turnaround could go a long way in the battle for a starting spot as a senior on McKie’s team next season.
“I think I found my role,” Scott said. “It’s all on me. I need to build my habits for coaches to trust me and play me as well. I feel like it’s all on me, my mindset and that consistency.”