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Temple Owls and Fran Dunphy Continue to Win Games

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA—Fran Dunphy is turning his farewell season at Temple into a victory tour.

The 70-year old Dunphy, a beloved figure in Big 5 folklore who has won over 500 victories in 30 years as the head coach at Penn and Temple, is scheduled to step down at the end of this season. The university, in search of new blood, plans to elevate his first assistant Aaron McKie to the job next year.

Dunphy, who teaches at Temple’s Fox School of Business and one of the leaders of the Coaches vs. Cancer movement, got started his season by receiving the prestigious Dean Smith Award from the US Basketball Writers Association that honors the college basketball individual who embodies the spirit and values of Coach Smith, the long-time Hall of Fame coach from North Carolina.

He hopes to finish it with an eighth trip to the NCAA tournament at Temple.

Dunphy’s 12-3 Owls, have won five of their last six games, took a giant step in that direction last week when they defeated 15th ranked, previously unbeaten, well coached Houston, 73-69, in a high energy American Athletic Conference game at the Liacouras Center on their North Broad St. campus. Houston entered the game with a 15-0 record and was ranked fourth in the NET, the NCAA new analytical rating.  Temple had a rating of 61.

This was a signature win for the Owls and the 14th straight year Temple has defeated nationally ranked teams since Dunphy replaced retiring Hall of Fame coach John Chaney in 2006. It was also a bit of revenge against a good team that sprinted out to a 15-0 lead against them last year during an 80-59 victory on the way to an NCAA bid, where they lost 64-63 to national finalist Michigan in the first round on a three-point jumper by freshman Jordan Poole at the buzzer.

Expect more of these dramatic finished. “This league has a lot of talent, top to bottom,’’ Temple’s 6-6 junior win Quinton Rose said. “Every game, for the most part, is going to be a dog fight.’’

This team keeps finding new ways to win games. The game, which had eight lead changes and four ties, came down to a dramatic play in the final seconds. Houston, which had been down nine with 7:56 left in the second half, had pulled 71-69 after Corey Davis made a deep three with 37.3 seconds to play. After the Cougars forced a shot clock violation with seven seconds remaining, Davis had the ball and went to the basket after not getting an open look from three. AT the last instant Temple’s 6-10, 240-pound center Ernest Aflakpui planted himself outside the arch. Davis jumped into contact for an incredibly athletic finger roll layup, but the officials whistled a charge with 0:3 seconds to play, negating the basket; and guard Nate Pierre-Louis sank two free throws to lock up the game.

“I was supposed to clean everything up,’’ Aflakpui said. ‘We ended up getting beat to the basket. Nate did a great job chasing him. I saw him coming and I just got up and took the charge.’’

Akflapui has a history of driving his teammates crazy in practice by consistently taking charges. “In practices, it’s frustrating because he’s always taking charges on us.,’’ Rose said. “But in this game, he saved us. I love him.’’

The deciding call set off an instant debate between Sampson and the officials. ‘I thought it was a block,’’ Sampson said. “But that would have been the first time all night I would have been right. I thought that if we could get the ball to the basket, I would take the two. Davis went to the basketball. The ref blows the whistle. If he calls it a block, we win. If he calls it a charge, they win. That’s how close it was.’’

Rose, has shown flashes of NBA talent, was sensational in the second half, finishing with 22 points, making 9 of 10 free throws. Guard Nate Pierre Louis, who was coming off two 20 points in a loss at UCF and a win at Wichita, finished with 18 to camouflage the fact senior guard Shizz Alston, the league’s leading scorer, had a rare off game offensively. Alston scored 12 points on 3 of 15 shooting, but he contributed six rebounds and six assists. Temple shot 25- for- 28 from the line



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