Cummings Up Big

The Temple men's basketball team was on the verge of a fourth straight second-half collapse before junior point guard Will Cummings saved the day in a consolation bracket game against Georgia Friday night. Cummings hit a three-pointer with seven seconds to play, giving Temple an 83-81 lead and watched as the Bulldogs missed a three at the buzzer to cement the Owls' second win of the season.

The Temple men's basketball team was on the verge of a fourth straight second-half collapse before junior point guard Will Cummings saved the day in a Charleston Classic consolation bracket game against Georgia Friday night.

Cummings hit a three-pointer with seven seconds to play, giving Temple an 83-81 lead and watched as the Bulldogs missed a three at the buzzer to cement the Owls' second win of the season.

"He had the sense and the guts that he is the guy to make a play," said Temple coach Fran Dunphy. "He wants the role and he embraced the role. It's a really good win for us. We needed it badly."

Temple is 2-3 overall but has led at the half in all five games and on Friday was comfortably ahead by 15 points in the second half before Georgia stormed all the way back.

"We've talked about getting tougher and grinding it out because every game we have had a lead," said the Owls' lone senior Dalton Pepper.

Charles Mann's layup with 18 seconds to play put Georgia up 81-80 and seemed to set the stage for another heartbreaking Owls' loss before Cummings came up big.

"I knew had to shoot," said Cummings. "There was 18 seconds left when I got the ball and I came off the pick-and-roll and nothing was there. I had to get it up. As sooon as I released it, I knew it was in. We needed that win for the young guys' confidence."

Cummings finished with 17 points, while Pepper scored a career-high 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting for the Owls. Quenton DeCosey added 15 points as the Owls finished 11-for-20 from three-point range.

"We just had good looks and adjusted to the zone they were playing," said Pepper. "We just made the extra pass and made open shots."

Redshirt junior Jimmy McDonnell, who in four years had never seen significant minutes in a game, was a surprise starter. He played 17 minutes and grabbed four rebounds.

"There's nobody on our team who deserved an opportunity more than he did," said Dunphy. "Was it a message being sent? To an extent. There is no entitlement. You get the spot because you earned the spot and he earned the spot 10 times over. It was just a hunch that said get him out there.

"He's a great guy and great teammate, and you don't have to get double-doubles to be a critical part of a team."

The Owls will play UAB in the fifth-place game on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.

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