The enigmatic Temple men’s basketball team beat a Top 25 team on the road for the second time in just over a week by topping No. 23 Connecticut, 55-53, on Tuesday night.
The Owls had knocked off No. 22 Cincinnati, 77-70, in its conference opener just before the New Year. But sandwiched in between was a 77-50 loss to Houston at home that had dropped them to 6-6 on the season.
The victory gave coach Fran Dunphy his 200th win as Owls’ coach, making him one of five coaches in NCAA history to win 200 games at two schools while taking both to at least six NCAA Tournaments. Dunphy won over 300 games as the head coach at Penn.
The milestone win didn’t come without drama as Josh Brown’s floater with two seconds left snapped a 53-all tie and gave the Owls the win. Temple’s two previous possessions had ended in shot-clock violations.
Temple led for most of the way but struggles at the free-throw line (shooting just 7-for-18) as well as some questionable officiating kept the Huskies (10-4) in the game.
Brown, though, saved the day. He drove the lane and lofted his shot after a spin move gave him a good look at the basket.
Dunphy continued to juggle his lineup, bringing Devin Coleman and foul-prone Obi Enechionyia off the bench. It worked for Coleman, who scored 14 points, but not so much for the sophomore big man, who had just two points and two rebounds and struggled defensively.
Brown scored 11 points, while Jaylen Bond had 11 points and 10 rebounds though was the primary culprit at the line, missing all three of his attempts.
Freshman Ernest Aflakpui, who seemed to be a candidate for a redshirt, was inserted into the game and played seven minutes, scoring seven points and adding three rebounds.
Quenton DeCosey led Temple with 15 points. DeCosey’s long three-pointer gave the Owls a 49-47 lead and they never trailed again – though the game was tied at 49, 51 and 53 before Brown’s game-winner.
UConn’s Shonn Miller finished with a game-high 18.