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Temple falls to UConn on layup in closing seconds

Temple's inability to close out tight games at home has been one of the reasons this basketball season has been one of frustration for the Owls.

Temple's inability to close out tight games at home has been one of the reasons this basketball season has been one of frustration for the Owls.

The latest exhibit occurred Sunday in a 64-63 American Athletic Conference loss to Connecticut before a season-best crowd of 8,702 at the Liacouras Center.

Jalen Adams scored on a driving layup with 2.9 seconds left to provide the Huskies with the winning margin. With Temple out of timeouts, Shizz Alston was way short with a desperation shot from inside half court as time expired.

The Owls fell to 14-14, and 5-10 in the AAC. Sizzling UConn (14-12, 9-5) has won four in a row and seven of eight. Temple has lost two in a row and three of four and is now just 8-6 at home.

The Owls led, 56-46, when Alston hit a jumper with 8 minutes, 29 seconds left.

This was reminiscent of an earlier 70-68 loss at home to Tulsa, when the Owls led by 63-55 with less than seven minutes remaining. Tulsa broke a 68-68 tie on a driving layup with four seconds left.

"If we all make one better decision, we come away with two great wins against Tulsa and UConn," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said.

On a positive note, Temple played much better than during its 73-59 loss at UConn on Jan. 11. Yet the Owls have nothing to show for it.

With Temple leading 63-60, Adams was fouled by Quinton Rose while attempting a driving dunk. Rose felt he didn't commit the foul.

Adams made both free throws, cutting Temple's lead to 63-62 with 1:05 left.

Temple's Daniel Dingle missed the front end of a one-and-one with 41 seconds left. The Owls then committed two fouls, but they weren't in the penalty, giving UConn the ball with 8.4 seconds left.

There was no doubt that Adams, now averaging a team-high 14.9 points after scoring 13 against Temple, was the one that coach Kevin Ollie wanted to take the final shot.

"He is our best player," Ollie said. ". . . He went strong and was under control and it was a great shot by him."

Dingle, who played all 40 minutes, led Temple with 17 points and six rebounds. He shared the team assist lead with Alston, both with six.

It was the first time a Temple player led the team in points, rebounds, and assists in a game since Khalif Wyatt had 19 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists in a 74-55 win at Fordham on March 6, 2013.

When asked how bad this loss was, Dingle economized his thoughts. "Bad," he said.

A bright spot for Temple was the play of freshman guard Alani Moore and freshman center Damion Moore (no relation), who both scored 11 points. Damion Moore hit all five shots from the field. "I still have a lot to learn but I am working every day," he said.

Besides Adams, the Owls were torched by 6-foot-4 redshirt senior Rodney Purvis, who scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half.

Dingle still feels the Owls can make noise in the conference tournament.

"We are going to learn how to win," said Dingle, a fifth-year senior. "It just happened we let one get away."