Temple found its three-point shooting touch at the most opportune time. After making just three of its first 24 from beyond the arc, the Owls hit three straight, taking a nine-point lead en route to Saturday’s 77-70 win over St. Joseph’s at Hagan Arena.
Temple is now 7-1 and 2-0 in the Big 5, and continues to build a solid NCAA resume from its nonconference schedule. St. Joseph’s fell to 4-4 and 0-1.
Temple guard Alani Moore broke a 60-60 tie with a three-pointer, which was followed by J.P. Moorman II and Shizz Alston hitting from beyond the arc. Alston’s three made it 69-60 with 2 minutes, 15 seconds left.
That gave the Owls enough cushion in what had been a tight game played with typical Big 5 intensity.
“[Associate head] coach [Aaron] McKie always says keep shooting and they have to fall eventually,” Alston said. “We struggled all game and made three in crunch time. I am perfectly fine with that.”
So was Temple coach Fran Dunphy.
“That is our MO; we are not shooting it great, but I don’t want them to be stop being confident they can make those shots,” Dunphy said.
Coaching his last Big 5 game against St. Joseph’s, Dunphy received a standing ovation from Hawks fans during pregame introductions. Dunphy is in his final season at Temple, with McKie taking over after this season.
"I was really appreciative of the greeting early, it was nice, very touching, and I appreciate it very much.” Dunphy said.
There was a great individual battle between Temple 6-foot-8 junior Quinton Rose and St. Joseph’s 6-7 redshirt sophomore Charlie Brown Jr. Both have NBA aspirations, and they spent much of the time guarding each other.
Brown had 18 points, shooting 6-for-16 and 2-for-5 from beyond the arc, and Rose scored 15 on 4-for-13 shooting (1-for-5 from three-point range).
“It was definitely intense,” Rose said of the matchup with Brown. “He is the first guy I played at my position who was the same size as me, so that was different and he is a good shooter.”
Freshman guard Jared Bynum scored 23 points for the Hawks and Alston had 15 for Temple.
The Owls received a major boost from the bench, with Moorman scoring nine of the 24 bench points.
“If Alston and Rose were going to get 45 of 50, then so be it, but when you look at it, they have 24 points off their bench. That was where we felt we could guard,” St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli said.
St. Joseph’s led, 41-33, at halftime. The Hawks took their biggest first-half lead when Brown hit his second straight three-pointer off the dribble from the top of the key, extending the lead to 32-21 with 3:29 left.
The Hawks had just two first-half turnovers and none in their final 22 trips. Temple had only three first-half turnovers, but the Owls shot just 2-for-14 from three-point range. Temple was fortunate to be down by just eight, since its two leading scorers Alston and Rose were a combined 5-for-17 from the field.
Now, Temple will prepare for Wednesday’s game at Villanova, in another highly anticipated Big 5 matchup.