Damian Dunn Three-Point Play With 36.9 Seconds to Play is the Game Winner
PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/25/2020
After thirteen days without a game the Temple Owls took the floor. Neither team shot the ball very well. Rust? Maybe, but Cincinnati, a good offensive team, played games. Intensity? Maybe as Temple turned up the defense especially in the second half. Let’s just say it was a slogging through the weeds type of game that was not finally decided until a Bearcats three-pointer missed at the buzzer. The Owls came away with a 61 – 58 win in front of 4,752 at the Liacouras Center. Guard Damian Dunn scored on an old fashion three-point play with 36.9 seconds on the clock for the winning points.
The play of the game for the Owls happened when Dunn got the ball and hit another critical jumper in the paint and was fouled. Dunn converted and the Cherry and White led 60 – 58. Those became the winning points, Jeremiah Williams got the assist thanks to non-verbal communication.
“We made eye contact, I told him to throw the ball up and I’ll go get it,” said Dunn. “I had a height advantage, and I turned around and shot over him,” said Dunn. “It fell.”
Temple looked out of synch early, committing 9 turnovers and shooting 8 for 28 (28.6%) in the opening first twenty minutes. Cincinnati was better and made 6 three-pointers. The Bearcats used a 17 – 3 run over the half to take a 41 – 27 lead 2:24 into the second half.
Then, the tide slowly turned as the Cherry and White picked up their scoring and the defense stifled the Cincinnati offense. The Owls chipped away, and the Bearcats went stone cold from the floor. With 15:10 to go John Newman III scored on a jump shot to put Cincy in front 45 – 33. But they would miss 16 of their next 17 shots. Only 21 second half points were scored by the Bearcats who wound up shooting under 20% (5 of 29) and converted only 1 of 14 three-pointers.
“We kept talking about it, we’ve got to crank it up and try to generate some offense from our defense,” said Temple Coach Aaron McKie. “We know a majority of their offense comes from transition and three-point shots. We wanted to try to push them out a little more, and get after those guys.”
Temple grabbed a lead when Dunn converted two free throws with 4:13 showing on the clock. Cincinnati took it right back when David DeJulius scored 7 consecutive points for the Bearcats. His three free throws at 2:11 became the last points of the game for Cincinnati.
Dunn pulled the Owls to within 58 – 57 with 1:15 remaining. On the ensuing possession Jeremiah Williams blocked a layup attempt by the Bearcats Hayden Koval. The Owls got the rebound and called timeout, and set up the game-winning play.
Cincinnati had three more opportunities, but would not covert those chances.
“This was a huge win for us,” said Williams. “In the first half we were out of sorts. In the second half we got our rhythm back. Being the greedy team on defense that we are, we were able to get stops and push through.”
Leading the Owls in scoring was Dunn who scored 18 points. He made 7 of 9 free throws. Williams added 15 points and Nick Jourdain added 10 points. Strickland took down a career-high 10 rebounds. The Owls grabbed 50 boards, their highest number of the season.
The Bearcats had one player break double-digits. DeJulius scored 15 points. The total of 58 is the lowest number of points by Cincinnati (14 – 6, 4 – 3) this season.
Temple (11 – 6, 4 – 2) is on a four-game winning streak and takes the court again on Saturday at SMU.
Written By: Glenn Papazian