Quenton DeCosey started strong and finished even better. And he had plenty of big moments in the middle of the game.
The 6-foot-5 Temple junior picked an opportune time to record the first double-double if his career. DeCosey had 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead Temple to a 77-59 NIT quarterfinal win over Louisiana Tech at the Liacouras Center.
That earned Temple (26-10) a semifinal berth against Miami (24-12), Tuesday 7 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.
DeCosey set the tone early by scoring Temple's first five points on a jumper and then a three-pointer.
"The way he stated the game he shot the first shot like 'this is my game I will do well,'" coach Fran Dunphy said. "He shot the first two balls very confidently and I thought he was very focused."
Dunphy felt that this was DeCosey's best game of the year. After a late February slump, DeCosey has picked it up and has also been a force as a rebounder. Over his last eight games, DeCosey is averaging 7.1 rebounds.
"I wanted to help out on the glass," DeCosey said. "Jaylen (Bond) battled guys every game so I wanted to be another person on the glass to help out."
He has also been much more aggressive on offense. In the last eight games he is averaging 13.5 points.
And now he has been rewarded with a game at Madison Square Garden, which in a way is in his backyard since he hails from Union, New Jersey. DeCosey said the Garden is only about 30 minutes from his home and he expects a large contingent of family and friends. And the chance to play so close to home in what is known as "The World's Most Famous Arena" could have been an additional motivating factor.
"I wanted to come out aggressive and help my team get to the Garden," DeCosey said.
He helped in a big way, continuing a strong late-season run.