NEW YORK — Coming off a second half in which it squandered an 11-point lead in Sunday’s 87-83 loss at La Salle, Temple came out blazing against South Carolina.
The Owls held an 11-point halftime lead and didn’t let up in the second half Thursday night in a 76-60 win over the Gamecocks in the Under Armour Reunion, a doubleheader at Madison Square Garden. Seton Hall beat Texas Tech, 89-79, in the first game.
Temple’s Quinton Rose, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, continued his quick start with 24 points, two below his career high, in helping the Owls improve to 4-1. Rose scored 14 points in the first half, shooting 6 for 8.
“It was tough and it was a Big Five game,” Rose said about Sunday’s loss. “It does get hard so we worked hard in practice and came out with the mind-set that we had to get a ‘W’ and there was no other option,”
To show how well things were going for Rose, he threw a lob from beyond half court to Obi Enechionyia, that ended up going in the basket for a three-pointer in the first half.
“I knew I overthrew him but I didn’t know it would go in the basket,” Rose said.
Reaction from Temple’s 76-60 win over South Carolina at MSG beginning with Quinton Rose who had a game-high 24 points. pic.twitter.com/BsSJ9p8xIH
— Marc Narducci (@sjnard) December 1, 2017
Temple, which led by as many as 23 points in the second half, also displayed some depth that explains why coach Fran Dunphy said before the season that this could be his deepest team.
Sophomore center Damion Moore came off the bench to earn career highs in points (20) and rebounds (10).
“All week I stayed focused getting ready for this game,” Moore said.
Enechionyia added 15 points and five rebounds, while tying a career high with six blocked shots.
David Beatty, a freshman guard from Philadelphia’s Imhotep Charter, scored 13 points for South Carolina.
In the first half, 6-4 freshman Nate Pierre-Louis made his Temple debut. Pierre-Louis, who starred at North Jersey’s Roselle Catholic, showed great defensive intensity in a five-minute first-half stint.
South Carolina (5-2) entered the game ranked No. 23 nationally in scoring defense, allowing 60.7 points per game, but the Gamecocks couldn’t stop Temple, which displayed excellent ball movement.
This was South Carolina’s first trip to Madison Square Garden since beating Florida, 77-70, in the last year’s NCAA tournament Eastern Regional championship to advance to the Final Four. The Gamecocks have just two returning starters and aren’t expected to be a major contender, witnessed by the fact that they were picked to finish 11th in the Southeastern Conference preseason poll.
Temple was last here in 2015, losing to Miami, 60-57, in the semifinals of the NIT.
The Owls feel that they can be an NCAA tournament team and now have beaten two SEC teams (Auburn and South Carolina) and one from the ACC (Clemson).
Temple returns to action Sunday at George Washington.