Temple tops Auburn, advances to Charleston final

OWLS11
Temple guard Quinton Rose scored 19 points against Auburn.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Temple coach Fran Dunphy knows he’s going to have to live with the good and the bad that Quinton Rose brings to the Owls this season.

Both aspects of Rose’s game were on display Friday morning against Auburn. Obi Enechionyia scored 19 points and pulled down 10 rebounds and Rose added 19 points to lead Temple past the Tigers, 88-74, in the semifinals of the Charleston Classic at TD Arena.

The Owls (2-0) will face the winner of the Clemson-Hofstra game in the tournament final at 9:30 Sunday night.

The bad part of Rose’s game came during the first half when, despite scoring eight points, the sophomore from Rochester, N.Y., had four bad turnovers and took a couple of ill-advised shots.

The good came during the final eight minutes of the game when the 6-foot-8 guard connected on three straight three-pointers and handed out two assists to key a crucial run by the Owls.

“Quinton is the guy that can make a lot of things happen for us, and I’ve learned you’re just going to have to live with some of the mistakes that he makes,” Dunphy said. “He had four turnovers today and I think they missed one, so he should have had five. But he’s also able to make the kind of plays he did in the second half. I think he’s just a talented, talented guy.”

As a freshman, Rose struggled with his perimeter game. He shot just 29 percent from three-point range during the 2016-17 season. He spent the summer in the gym honing his shot, and the extra work has paid immediate dividends for the Owls. In the first two games this week, Rose is 6 for 12 from distance, including a 5-for-8 performance Friday against Auburn.

“I knew I had to get more shots up in the summer to improve. I didn’t change anything in my shot,” Rose said. “I knew I needed to get into the gym. My teammates found me today with an open look, and I knocked them down.”

Shizz Alston, who finished with 18 points, also did his part in an efficient manner. The 6-4 junior took just nine shots, making six, and added five rebounds, four assists and zero turnovers.

“That’s just a great stat line from Shizz,” Dunphy said. “I thought he was very efficient today.”

In a game that featured runs from both Temple and Auburn, the Owls had the final push when it mattered most.

“I thought we kept our poise for the most part,” Dunphy said. “There were a couple of crazy offensive thrusts, but I thought we kept our poise. This is a really good win for us. I’m thrilled to get it and to get into the championship game.”

Temple, which led by 32-31 at halftime, appeared to take control of the game in the opening five minutes of the second half. Two free throws from Damion Moore capped an 8-2 spurt that gave the Owls a 40-33 advantage with 17 minutes, 45 seconds to play. The Tigers, however, came storming back and eventually tied the game at 57 on Horace Spencer’s free throw with 9:27 to play.

But the Owls answered with a 13-4 run over the next three minutes. Rose keyed the burst, hitting the first of three three-pointers to give the Owls a 67-59 lead with 7:30 left in the game. Auburn made one final push, getting to within 70-67 on Mustapha Heron’s three-pointer with 5:00 to play. But after two more three-pointers from Rose and a tap-in from Alston, the Owls were back up by double digits with less than three minutes to play.

Alani Moore came off the bench to scored 10 points for the Owls. Auburn (2-1) was led by Anfernee McLemore, who finished with 19 points and seven rebounds.