Temple tops South Florida on DeCosey's buzzer-beater

Posted: March 10, 2014

TAMPA, Fla. - Though Temple's forecast for mid-March still calls for a very slim chance of madness, signs of momentum have been spotted.

With isolated patches of magic, to boot.

Down by 18 with 9 minutes, 4 seconds to play after a series of offensive swoons, the Owls rallied for a 66-65 victory at South Florida on sophomore Quenton DeCosey's floater from the right baseline at the horn.

"It shows the fight in us," said junior guard and Florida native Will Cummings, whose team (9-21, 4-14) has won two in a row for the first time in more than three months and enters the American Athletic Conference tournament as the No. 8 seed. They will face No. 9 Central Florida Wednesday at 9:30 p.m.

"Sometimes it hasn't gone our way, and we've fought back and lost the lead a lot, but sometimes we've fought back and have been in games at the end," Cummings added. "So it's a good thing just to fight back and pull out the win in the end."

Following a timeout with 4.6 seconds to go after a tip-in by 6-foot-8 South Florida freshman Chris Perry, Dalton Pepper delivered the inbounds pass to Cummings, who turned around to find no Bulls in front of him. Accelerating up the floor, he drew 6-8 USF senior Victor Rudd near half-court and dished to DeCosey for the clincher. Officials briefly reviewed the basket to see if it beat the game clock before ruling it good.

"You take your chances, you just get lucky. And I mean that sincerely, it's just flat-out luck," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said.

"DeCosey found himself open. I think he had one bounce in him, went up, and just kind of made a very athletic play. Fortunate enough for us it went in the basket."

Fortune was preceded by proficiency. Lots of it.

Pepper's three-pointer with 7:54 to play, cutting the Owls' deficit to 54-41, began a spurt of nine consecutive made field-goal attempts for the Owls, most of them aggressive drives to the basket. When the streak ended, with Cummings' layup with 2:27 to play, Temple trailed by 61-59.

When Cummings (14 points, eight assists) snagged the rebound off a missed jumper and fed it to Pepper (game-high 20 points) for a transition layup with 17 seconds to go, Temple had its first lead - 64-63 - since the 10:35 mark of the first half.

Following a Bulls 30-second timeout, the hosts missed two shots in the lane before Perry's tip-in, eliciting the heartiest roar of the day from the Sun Dome audience of 4,073.

Seconds later, you could hear a floater drop.

"You feel good about the fact there's some credibility your team has with keeping their mind in the game and staying focused," Dunphy said. "We were a pretty struggling team when we went down 18, but you just talk about anything can happen."

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