Temple falls to Texas in overtime

Temple's Dalton Pepper tries to get a shot off against Texas defender Cameron Ridley. RON TARVER / Staff Photographer
Temple's Dalton Pepper tries to get a shot off against Texas defender Cameron Ridley. RON TARVER / Staff Photographer
Posted: December 09, 2013

It didn't take long for Fran Dunphy's blood to start boiling Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center.

During the early stages of Temple's game against young but talented Texas, Dunphy watched the Longhorns leave Owls defenders in their wake, racing down the floor time and again for easy baskets until the Owls fell behind by 16 points.

At the first television timeout, the red-faced Dunphy slammed down his folding chair, gathered the Owls around him, and told them they had better start guarding or else they were doomed. It took a while and Temple got the message. But in the end a remarkable comeback went for naught and Temple lost in overtime, 81-80.

"I like our spirit and never-quit attitude," Dunphy said after Temple's modest three-game winning streak ended. "But we've got to find a way to win this game and we didn't."

It appeared Temple had found the way until Texas guard Javan Felix, who had made only one of his previous 10 shots, nailed a three-pointer from the wing with 6.7 seconds to go in overtime for the decisive basket. Temple had taken an 80-78 lead on a free throw by Dalton Pepper with 13.6 seconds left in OT, but Pepper's second free throw was disallowed because he stepped over the free-throw line.

"The ref called it because I went over the line," said Pepper, who moved toward the basket anticipating his shot would be short.

The defeat dropped Temple to 4-4 while Texas raised its mark to 8-1.

Anthony Lee led Temple with 23 points and 14 rebounds and Pepper added 20 with five assists. But dreadful foul shooting - the Owls were 15 for 31 - was a key factor in short-circuiting the Owls' valiant comeback.

"We should have won this game," Pepper said.

Through most of the first half it appeared Texas might cruise to a breezy win. An emphatic dunk by Kendal Yancy left Temple looking up at a 36-20 deficit. Dunphy made a tactical move that enabled the Owls to climb back into the game, employing a zone defense after tiring of watching Texas shred his man-to-man.

"The zone saved us because obviously we didn't do very well with our man-to-man in the first half," Dunphy said.

Temple didn't grab its first lead until Lee hit 1 of 2 free throws to make it 71-70 with 3:07 left in regulation. Texas tied it at 73 on a pair of free throws by Jonathan Holmes with 1:32 to go, and the game lurched into overtime marked by erratic play from both teams. Holmes led the Longhorns with 16 points.

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