CHARLESTON, S.C. — Josh Brown is making up for lost time.
Brown, who missed all but five games last season because of an Achilles tendon injury, scored 13 points and Shizz Alston added 14 points to lead four players in double-figures as Temple defeated Clemson, 67-60, Sunday night in the finals of the Charleston Classic at TD Arena.
The Owls avenged a 62-56 loss to the Tigers in the 2008 Charleston Classic championship game.
It was Brown’s clutch shooting to start the second half that propelled the Owls to victory Sunday night.
The Owls, which led by seven points at halftime, took control of the game when Brown connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to start the second half to push the Owls’ lead to 43-31.
“I know this game and this tournament is huge for Josh,” said Temple forward Obi Enechionyia, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player. “He worked really hard in the offseason to get ready for the season. Coming back from an injury like that and playing like he did tonight and all weekend is huge for him and for the team.”
Temple, which had not played a game until coming to the Lowcountry of South Carolina, began its season a week later than most college basketball teams across the country. The extra week’s preparation certainly seemed to help the Owls (3-0) on the floor.
It’s the first time in program history that the Owls have started the year with three straight road victories.
“It’s been a terrific week for us, it’s a long week, but coming down here and winning the tournament is big for this team,” said Temple coach Fran Dunphy. “It’s a long time to be away from home, but to come out of here with three wins over three good teams is great. We’re thrilled to win and it’ll make whatever we eat on Thanksgiving a little bit sweeter.”
Neither team was able to take control of the game early, as the Owls and Tigers exchanged baskets for the better part of the opening nine minutes.
The Tigers (4-1) took a brief three-point lead, 17-14, on Donte Grantham’s layup with 11:11 to play in the opening half.
It would be their last lead of the game.
Temple answered with a 16-5 run over the next seven minutes as Alani Moore came off the bench to spark the Owls.
Moore missed his first 3-pointer and then proceeded to knock down his next two shots from distance. Shizz Alston and Enechionyia each added 3-pointers as the Owls made four of six during a five-minute span to stretch Temple’s lead to 30-22 with 4:17 to play in the first half.
After Brown’s 3-pointers to start the second half, the Tigers got sloppy with the ball, turning it over eight times in the opening six minutes of the second half.
The Owls were more than happy to take advantage of the Tigers carelessness with the ball. The Owls got a layup from Enechionyia and another 3-pointer from Brown and Temple led 50-36 with 12:58 to play in regulation. Temple finished with 25 points off of 18 Clemson turnovers.
Just when it looked like the Owls would seize control of the game, the Tigers went on a 10-3 run to close the gap to 53-46 on Mark Donnell’s 3-pointer with 9:47 play. Donnell, a graduate transfer from Michigan, highlighted the Tigers run with six points.
Clemson made another push as Marcquise Reed and Grantham hit back-to-back layups to cut the lead to 57-50 with 3:03 to play.
But after a Clemson timeout, Alston dribbled the ball at the top of the key, until the final seconds of the shot clock, knocking down a 3-pointer that gave the Owls a 60-50 lead with 2:31 to play.
Clemson wasn’t finished. Layups from Grantham, Reed and Shelton Mitchell pulled the Tigers to within, 60-56, with 50.6 seconds to play.
The Owls put the game away, hitting seven of nine free throws over the final 25 seconds to secure the victory,
The Tigers got to within one possession on two occasions over the final three minutes of the first half, but a Moore 3-pointer with 1:07 to go gave the Owls a 37-30 lead at halftime.
Temple’s Quinton Rose finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds, the first double-double of his career.
Clemson was led by Mitchell’s 16 points and Reed’s 14 points.