New York State of Mind

Temple’s bittersweet NIT run continued on Wednesday night as the Owls drilled Louisiana Tech, 77-59, in a quarterfinal game. After being snubbed by the NCAA Selection Committee 10 days ago, Temple received a No. 1 seed in the NIT. It won three times at the Liacouras Center and now will meet Miami (Fla.) next Tuesday at Madison Square Garden as part of the tournament’s Final Four.

Temple’s bittersweet NIT run continued on Wednesday night as the Owls drilled Louisiana Tech, 77-59, in a quarterfinal game.

After being snubbed by the NCAA Selection Committee 10 days ago, Temple received a No. 1 seed in the NIT. It won three times at the Liacouras Center and now will meet Miami (Fla.) next Tuesday at Madison Square Garden as part of the tournament’s Final Four.

The Owls are now one of 20 teams left playing basketball in the country – four in the NIT and 16 in the NCAA. Stanford will take on Old Dominion in the other game Tuesday with the winners playing on Thursday for the championship.

“It’s just making the season longer, and it’s a good feeling being able to extend your season no matter what tournament you’re playing in,” said senior guard Jesse Morgan.

Temple coach Fran Dunphy is appreciating the chance to continue playing and finishing the season in one of the world’s most historic arenas.

“I’m a big soaker-inner kind of guy,” said Dunphy. “You’ve been around a few years, you appreciate everything out there. I’ll look at all the banners, read them all including Billy Joel selling the place out 100 times.

“We’re proud as hell to be in the NIT. We’re still playing basketball and Madison Square Garden will be great.”

Junior Quenton DeCosey scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Owls, who also received 17 points from Morgan and 15 points, six assists and three steals from Will Cummings. It was DeCosey’s first career double-double and a career high in rebounds.

“I just wanted to come out and be confident and aggressive,” said DeCosey. “I wanted to help out on the glass. Jaylen (Bond) battles guys and I just wanted to be another guy (on the boards) helping him out. I just wanted to help my team advance and get to the Garden.”

Louisiana Tech coach Michael White admitted the obvious, the Bulldogs couldn’t stop the Owls’ penetration in particular and the Temple guards in general.

The Bulldogs thrive off transition but the Owls turned the ball over just five times and never let them get into their offense.

“They have tremendous guards and they played really, really well tonight,” said White. “They’re just … It’s a tough matchup for us because they’re really good in the half-court defensively and we’ve just been OK in the half-court offensively. Our best outcomes offensively have been when we’re able to turn you over. They don’t turn the ball over. They just don’t.

“Cummings’ speed and body control and ball skills with DeCosey, when you over-pressure them, they make you pay. Not many times you look at the stat sheet and we only turn the opponent over five times.

“I don’t remember that happening. I’m sure if it did happen we lost.”

Junior Daniel Dingle also played a key role for the Owls with seven points, five rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal.

The Owls never trailed, going on a 14-4 run to take a 25-13 lead nine minutes into the game and eventually holding an eight-point lead at the half. Louisiana Tech closed to within five in the second half but came no closer.

Temple beat Louisiana Tech, 82-75, at the Liacouras Center the second game of the season without Morgan, Bond or Devin Coleman.

Wednesday’s result was even more lopsided and carried a little more weight.

“Madison Square Garden is the stage of all stages,” said Cummings. “Everybody who plays basketball should get a chance to be there. It’s where you want to be.

“I think I made the statement before we’re going to win the NIT. I’m not satisfied at all. I still have two more basketball games in my career.”

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