Unbe-Lee-Vable

The student section at Temple men's basketball games chants "I believe that we have won" when the outcome is decided in the Owls' favor. On Wednesday, that cry from a fan base depleted by winter break came well after the Owls' 87-85 victory over Buffalo, perhaps in part because they didn't actually believe what they had seen.

The student section at Temple men's basketball games chants "I believe that we have won" when the outcome is decided in the Owls' favor.

On Wednesday, that cry from a fan base depleted by winter break came well after the Owls' 87-85 victory over Buffalo, perhaps in part because they didn't actually believe what they had seen.

Trailing by seven points with 3:09 to play, Temple rallied to force overtime, and Anthony Lee floated in a finger roll with 0.3 seconds to play in the extra period for his only basket of the game after grabbing a loose ball to give the Owls their 25th straight win at the Liacouras Center.

Khalif Wyatt took a three-point shot with the clock winding down and two Bulls players were in position for the rebound, but Owl sophomore Aaron Brown tipped the ball to Lee, standing alone in front of the basket. The freshman center took a step and floated the ball over the front of the rim for the winning points.

"I just saw the ball go up and saw AB tip the ball back, and I just reached up and grabbed it," said Lee. "I just floated the ball up because I saw the clock was expiring.

"At the end of the game, I told the guys I've been playing bad, I've been missing shots, not rotating, not doing the things I'm capable of doing. I wanted to make it up to my teammates, myself. I felt I was going to have a chance to do something and it came through."

After Jarod Oldham's half-court heave missed the net at the buzzer, Lee laid on his back with his arms outstretched, yelling towards the rafters.

"I actually fell when I was back-pedaling," said Lee. "I was in the moment. This was one of the best wins of my life."

It was the end of a rough game for the Owls (8-3) and Lee as the only two healthy post players had four fouls with over nine minutes to play in the second half.

Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson (12 rebounds) played another eight minutes before fouling out but offered only token defense so as not to pick up his fifth foul. Lee re-entered the game at the start of the overtime period after the Owls finished regulation with the 6-foot-5 Brown as their tallest player.

Forwards Javon McCrea and Mitchell Watt killed the Owls inside, combining for 50 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks.

"They have good post players," said Lee "It was the worst defensive performance I've had. They're both really skilled. I was trying to do the best I could, but I can give more effort. We just pulled through at the end."

Ramone Moore scored 24 points and Juan Fernandez 21 in leading four Owls in double figures with each hitting big three-pointers to force the extra session.

Fernandez and Moore drained back-to-back three-pointers sandwiched around a McCrea layup to tie the game at 78 with 23 ticks on the clock.

The Fernandez three followed two missed free throws by Titus Robinson and made it a 76-75 game with 52 seconds left. The Bulls connected on just 15-of-27 free throws.

"Those two free throws were big, because if he would have made them, even with the two threes we wouldn't have been tied," said Fernandez. "It was key."

Moore drained his three-pointer from the right of the key six seconds after McCrea's layup made it a 78-75 game.

"I had it in my mind, Juan previously hitting a three, they were focused on him a little more, and I had an open shot," said Moore. "I'm just glad it went down."

Buffalo's Zach Filzen missed a three-pointer right before the buzzer as the game went into overtime.

The shooting percentages don't indicate a Temple win. The Bulls (6-4) shot 55.2 percent from the field to the Owls' 36.4 percent, but the Owls forced 21 turnovers, grabbed 19 offensive rebounds and made 11 three-pointers – albeit it on 28 attempts.

"To win this game. … I wasn't sure we would have that opportunity," said Temple coach Fran Dunphy. "There was just a belief these guys had at the end and hopefully it will be a signature of this team that they'll find a way.

"We didn't do a good job positioning defensively. We're undersized and undergirthed. …Is that a word? But we're just going to have to find a way and battle like crazy and these guys came up with big, big shots at the end. Unfortunately, we're going to have a lot of these."

Buffalo started fast. Robinson's layup ended a 10-0 run and gave the Bulls a 12-3 lead.

But Temple answered with its own 9-0 run to tie the game at 12. The lead changed hands five times in the first half, the last time when Moore scored with 26 seconds left to give the Owls a 35-34 halftime lead.

During the Owls' run, Watt was called for an unusual technical for hanging on the rim while playing defense after he jumped to block an attempt by Hollis-Jefferson, who pump-faked and never took the shot. Moore hit both free throws – and like every point Wednesday they were critical.

"I think it may be the biggest win of the season," said Moore.

Added Fernandez: "It matters how you play, but as long as you find a way to win, (what matters) is the scoreboard."

Moore/Lee/Fernandez:

Fran Dunphy:

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