EditorsNote: adds team records in sixth and seventh grafs
Quinton Rose scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds on Wednesday to help Temple edge American Athletic Conference rival Houston 73-69 in Philadelphia, sending the Cougars to their first defeat of the season.
Houston won its first 15 games and was off to the program’s best start since the 1967-68 Cougars opened 31-0. No. 2 Michigan and No. 4 Virginia are the nation’s lone remaining undefeated teams.
Temple led by nine points with 7:31 to go, but the Cougars didn’t wilt. Houston drew to within 71-69 on a Corey Davis Jr. 3-pointer with 37 seconds left. An Owls turnover with seven seconds to go gave Houston the last possession, but Davis was whistled for an offensive foul as time expired.
Nate Pierre-Louis swished two free throws to provide the final margin.
Playing just their third road game of the season — and first since Dec. 8 — the Cougars shot 39.3 percent from the floor. While the Owls were not markedly better offensively, their 38.2 percent shooting rate still exceeded Houston’s average field-goal defense of 36.2 percent, which ranked second in the nation entering the game.
Pierre-Louis (18 points) and Shizz Alston (12) also scored in double figures for the Owls (12-3, 2-1 AAC). Temple improved to 6-0 at the Liacouras Center this season.
Breaon Brady had 19 points to lead Houston (15-1, 2-1), while Davis and Nate Hinton chipped in 11 apiece.
Temple capitalized on its grittiness to take 39-32 halftime lead. Although the Owls shot just 40 percent in the first 20 minutes, they forced six Cougars turnovers and held a 19=16 rebounding edge. Rose led the charge with 17 points while Ernest Aflakpui, Alston and Pierre-Louis provided secondary scoring, tallying six points apiece.
Houston grabbed a 15-12 lead on a Davis 3-pointer with 12:30 remaining in the first half, but Temple took the advantage on a J.P. Moorman II trey about 90 seconds later.
The Owls didn’t relinquish the lead until a Fabian White layup gave the Cougars a 46-45 edge with 14:12 left. A Pierre-Louis trey on the following possession made it 48-46 Temple and set the stage for a see-saw stretch run.
—Field Level Media