Jacob Evans’ jumper with one second remaining lifted No. 19 Cincinnati to a hard-fought 55-53 victory over Temple on Thursday night at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.
Kyle Washington scored 18 points and Evans added 14 for the Bearcats (13-2, 2-0 American). Cincinnati posted its fifth win in a row.
Temple led 50-48 with 2:21 left when Owls coach Fran Dunphy was whistled for a technical foul when his water bottle landed on the court after a foul was called. He insisted it was an accident, but Clark hit one of two free throws and Washington buried a 3-pointer to put Cincinnati ahead 52-50.
With 18.7 seconds left, Temple’s Alani Moore was fouled by Jarron Cumberland attempting a 3-pointer. Moore, a 62 percent free-throw shooter, made all three foul shots to tie the score, setting up Evans’ heroics.
Obi Enechionyia scored 14 points and Shizz Alston Jr. added 12 for the Owls (7-7, 0-3 American). Temple lost its fourth consecutive game and three straight to Cincinnati.
Bearcats backup point guard Cane Broome missed his second straight game with a sprained ankle, and Cincinnati missed him.
Justin Jenifer led Cincinnati with nine points in the first half but also committed three of the team’s 13 turnovers. The Bearcats wound up with 16 turnovers on the night, and Jenifer didn’t score in the second half.
Enechionyia and Alston Jr. each scored eight points in the half for the Owls, who didn’t score in the final 3:54 before the break. Cincinnati scored four points in that span but trailed 29-26 at halftime.
With 16:25 remaining in the game, both Washington and Clark had three fouls, further hampering the Bearcats’ inside game. However, Washington scored 10 consecutive points to keep Cincinnati close.
A three-point play by Nate Pierre-Louis and a jumper by De‘Vondre Perry put Temple ahead 46-38 with eight minutes left, but the Bearcats rallied.
Cincinnati leads the all-time series 20-9, including wins in both meetings last season, but Temple had been a thorn in the Bearcats’ side in previous years.
Cincinnati plays host to SMU on Sunday, the same day Temple plays at Central Florida.
--Field Level Media