NEWARK, N.J. - For the second weekend in a row, Temple faced off against an undefeated Big East Conference team.
And like last weekend, the Owls won, this time by 71-65 over Seton Hall. Temple's first Big East victim was Big Five rival Villanova.
Yesterday, Temple senior guard Ryan Brooks had a game-high 24 points, and the Owls, who were sinking foul shots at a tepid rate of 61 percent entering the game, went 13 for 15 from the line down the stretch against the Pirates.
Earlier in the game, the Owls had a reversal of performance in another category - but to their detriment. In the first half, Temple (9-3), which ranks second in the nation with the fewest turnovers per game, turned the ball over nine times. Senior guard Luis Guzman committed four of the turnovers.
In addition, Temple junior forward Lavoy Allen was saddled with foul trouble and was replaced by Scootie Randall. Randall responded with three three-pointers.
"We're just very fortunate to have won the game, given the foul trouble and getting ourselves down 13, but we found a way to crawl back into it," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "We had some great contributions off the bench. Scootie Randall with those threes was key for us."
Seton Hall (8-1) took advantage of Temple's turnovers for 11 points, and the Pirates also scored eight fastbreak points for a 30-27 halftime lead.
The Owls would have trailed by the exact same deficit - six points - as they did at the half of the Villanova game last Sunday, but sophomore guard Juan Fernandez hit a three-pointer at the buzzer. He led all scorers at the half with nine points, as both the Owls and the Pirates shot 34.4 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes. Fernandez finished with 21 points, including some critical foul shots in the late going.
The halftime deficit quickly increased for Temple, though, as Seton Hall opened up the second half on a 12-2 run and led by as many as 13 points.
With Allen, who grabbed 17 rebounds against Villanova, on the bench with four fouls at the 12-minute, 39-second mark in the second half, the Owls turned to Fernandez and Brooks.
They keyed a 14-5 run with help from sophomore forward and Communications Tech graduate Randall. Randall hit back-to-back three-pointers to close the gap to one point at 47-46.
Then, Brooks drew contact and hit two free throws, giving Temple the lead at 48-47 for the first time since 10-9 in the first half.
Randall hit another three-pointer at the 2:23 mark to give the Owls a 66-63 lead. They did not trail the rest of the game.
The Owls got to the bonus at the 9:48 mark, with the Pirates joining them shortly thereafter.
While Temple got hot from the foul line, Seton Hall junior guard Jeremy Hazell, the second-leading returning scorer in both the Big East and the nation, missed two of three after a Fernandez foul. Fernandez hit the biggest two foul shots with 30.9 seconds remaining to give Temple a five-point cushion.