Heartbreak ended Temple’s season Friday afternoon, as a buzzer-beating overtime tip in from Iowa’s Adam Woodbury buried the Owls 72-70 in their NCAA Tournament opener.
The No. 10 Owls had Daniel Dingle at the line with things tied at 70-all but the injured guard couldn’t hit the front end of a one-and-one and gave No. 7 Iowa a chance — one that they converted to clinch a date with Villanova Sunday.
As soon as Selection Sunday revealed the South Region’s bracket last week, there was buzz about a potential Big 5 showdown between rivals Temple and Villanova, but after a shocking and devastatingloss just the Wildcats move on.
“I was proud of our guys for the non-quit factor in our guys,” Temple head coach Fran Dunphy said. “Obviously disappointed we will not play on Sunday”
The Owls trailed by as many as 12 midway through the first half, but a13-0run erased the deficit and gave Templeit’s first lead since the opening minutes. They would trail by a single point at halftime.
Streaky as always, the Owls were true to form falling behind by 10again in the second half (following Quenton DeCosey’s third foul putting him on the bench).
Upon the guard’s return, Temple made it a game once again, trailing by two with just over 11 seconds left. Playing the foul game, the Owls were at the mercy of Iowa’s free throw shooting. When Peter Jok made one of two, the Hawkeyes made the basketball sin of fouling DeCosey while he was hurling a three. The senior drained all three to send things to an extra five minutes.
In overtime, DeCosey converted a key 3-point play to give Temple a 68-66 lead with two minutes to go in the frame.
Trailing by two a minute later, Josh Brown drove the lane and hit a floater to tie things at 70-apiece but Woodbury’stip-in at the buzzer ended the Owls season after a missed fadeaway (after Dingle’s missed opportunity).
Earlier in the day, second-seeded Villanova did its job early, as expected, handling No. 15 UNC Ashville by 30 points to advance. The Wildcats flexed their muscles in Brooklyn, with Daniel Ochefu showing he is back 100 percent with a double double (17 points, 10 rebounds). Five other Nova players contributed double-figures in points in the 86-56 — Kris Jenkins, Ryan Arcidiacono, Jaylen Brunson and off the bench Mikal Bridges.
“Villanova is a very goodteam they have a lot of weapons,” Iowa head coachFran McCaffery said after the win.”You go to the bench you have scorers their starters are scorers.”
The No. 2 Wildcats take on Iowa later this weekend and will no doubt be favorites. But in a tournament already overflowing with upsets and overtime thrillers, anything is possible.