Temple builds big lead, hangs on to top DePaul 74-65

MIAMI -- When Temple coach Fran Dunphy arrived in the Owls' locker room for some postgame remarks Saturday, he had a few words to say about his team's next opponent.

Not that his kids needed any reminding.

No. 1 Villanova awaits, and Temple is going into that one on a winning note.

Obi Enechionyia and Shizz Alston Jr. each scored 15 points, and Temple ran out to a 25-point lead before hanging on to beat DePaul 74-65 in the Hoophall Miami Invitational. Villanova would have been Temple's second game in last season's NCAA Tournament, but the Owls lost to Iowa and didn't get a chance to disrupt the Wildcats' run to the national title.

A chance to knock them out of the No. 1 spot this year will have to do, for now.

"The reality is and was that they were the best basketball team throughout the year," Dunphy said. "We watched them tremendously throughout the year. They were the best basketball team and they proved it throughout the NCAA Tournament."

Quinton Rose scored 12 and Josh Brown had 11 points, seven steals and five assists for the Owls (7-3), who have won six of their last seven games. Brown started for the first time this season, after coming off the bench in three games following his recovery from an Achilles injury.

"I didn't feel out of sorts," Brown said.

Eli Cain scored 17 points for DePaul (5-3), which got 15 from Billy Garrett Jr. The Blue Demons came in shooting only 29 percent from 3-point range and struggled again, making just 1 of 15 tries on Saturday.

Temple was 9 for 20 from 3-point range, translating to a 27-3 edge in points.

DePaul was down 63-38 with 9 minutes left, before a 3-pointer by Cain seemed to give the Blue Demons some life. DePaul went on a 14-0 run in the final 4:50, getting 10 of those points from the line -- including four free throws in one sequence after Alston was called for a foul and a technical on the same play.

But Alston made a pair with 42.3 seconds left to give Temple a three-possession lead again, and the Owls escaped despite not having a single field goal in the final 8:18.

"We continue when we create a problem, that we're resilient to try to solve it," DePaul coach Dave Leitao said. "Our emphasis is not to create the problem -- it's to come out of the gate with the answers to the questions."


Temple: This was the first of two trips to Florida this month for the Owls, and the first of three this season. Temple plays at Central Florida on Dec. 31 and at South Florida on March 5. ... The Owls are now 4-2 all-time against DePaul, and Saturday was the first meeting between the clubs since 2001.

DePaul: The game was the 2,400th in program history (1,433-967). ... Garrett got to double figures for the 70th consecutive game, moved past Joe Ponsetto for 25th on the school's all-time scoring list and shot 11 for 12 from the line to get to No. 5 on DePaul's all-time free throw list as well.


Temple senior Mike Robbins had one field goal and eight points in his college career entering Saturday, over 19 appearances. He had eight points and made all three of his shots in the win over DePaul.

"Surreal," Robbins said.


Temple: The Owls play at Villanova on Tuesday. Temple is 2-15 all-time against AP No. 1 teams, and Villanova (10-0) likely will stay there after beating Notre Dame on Saturday.

DePaul: The Blue Demons host UIC on Wednesday. DePaul bounced back from its first two losses this season with double-digit wins.


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