Tem­ple downs Florida State in NIT Sea­son Tip-Off

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By De­nis P. Gor­man

Lit­tle had gone right for the Tem­ple Owls be­fore they gath­ered around coach Fran Dun­phy dur­ing a timeout. It would have been easy for them to la­ment their woes.

In­stead, as Shizz Al­ston Jr. re­called, their mes­sage to each other was cloaked in de­fi­ance.

“We’re on a big stage, we’re not go­ing out like this,” Al­ston said af­ter Tem­ple’s 8986 vic­tory over No. 25 Florida State on Thurs­day in the first game of the NIT Sea­son TipOff. “We want to fight back.”

Quin­ton Rose scored 26 points, in­clud­ing two free throws with 2 sec­onds left. Al­ston Jr. added 22 points and Obi Ene­chionyia had 16 points and eight re­bounds for the Owls (3-2).

Dwayne Ba­con had 22 points for the Semi­noles (41). Jonathan Is­sac added 19 points. Xavier Rathan-Mayes had 11, and Ter­ance Mann 10.

“They’re so deep,” Dun­phy said about Florida State. “So ath­letic. They can make shots, too.”

Trail­ing by 12 with 9:26 left, Tem­ple went on a 15-2 run to take a 73-72 lead. The stretch be­gan when Al­ston made a 3. That was fol­lowed by Rose’s put­back, Ene­chionyia’s lay-in, two made free throws by Al­ston, and con­sec­u­tive 3s from Al­ston and Damion Moore.

The Owls were able to ex­tend their ad­van­tage to 85-80 af­ter Ene­chionyia’s made 3 with 3:18 left. But Trent For­rest’s lay-in with 77 sec­onds cut the deficit to one, 87-86.

“They spread the floor,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said of Tem­ple’s of­fen­sive ap­proach in the sec­ond half. “They were shooting the 3s and they spread the floor, did a great job of tak­ing us off the drib­ble when they got to the foul line.

“Give them credit: They did what they had to do.”

Florida State had a chance to win, but Isaac air-balled a layup at­tempt with four sec­onds left. Rose’s two free throws sealed the win.

“We started mak­ing ev­ery shot we took,” Dun­phy said.

BIG PIC­TURE

Tem­ple: Com­ing off a berth in the NCAA Tour­na­ment, the Owls are looking for a re­peat trip and a win over a Top 25 team is good for the re­sume. The big­gest is­sue for Tem­ple, though, will be its abil­ity to de­fend well and, as Shizz Al­ston Jr. said, can the Owls win games com­fort­ably?

Florida State: Fol­low­ing five wins against lesser com­pe­ti­tion, Florida State took a step up in weight class and was fairly im­pres­sive for 30 min­utes. How­ever, col­lege bas­ket­ball games last 40. The Semi­noles vaunted de­fense was bro­ken down re­peat­edly by Tem­ple’s guards and, as Leonard Hamilton noted, his team will get its fill of strong op­po­si­tion once ACC play be­gins.

POLL IM­PLI­CA­TIONS

Tem­ple: De­spite the win, it is un­likely that the Owls will move into the Top 25. Tem­ple had dropped close

de­ci­sions to New Hamp­shire and UMass in its sec­ond and third games of the sea­son.

Florida State: Dur­ing his postgame press con­fer­ence, Leonard Hamilton stressed one game does not de­ter­mine the out­come of a sea­son. But it may — and likely will — cost the Semi­noles their No. 25 rank­ing.

NOTABLE

Tem­ple: The National In­vi­ta­tion Tour­na­ment TipOff marks the sixth time in pro­gram history that the Owls par­tic­i­pated in the early sea­son event. Tem­ple’s six ap­pear­ances are tied with St. John’s for sec­ond most in tour­na­ment history; Ari­zona and Duke have made seven ap­pear­ances apiece.

Florida State: The first of two NIT Tip-Off games marked the first time since the third round of the 2012 NCAA Tour­na­ment that the

Semi­noles were a na­tion­ally ranked team. Fol­low­ing a 6256 loss to Cincin­nati in the third round, the Semi­noles fin­ished the sea­son ranked 10th in the na­tion.

QUOTABLE

“I think you can come up with a philo­soph­i­cal the­ory if you want to, but they just had a great night. They did a very good job. I’m sure they’re hop­ing they shoot the ball that well for the re­main­der of the year. I’m hop­ing we don’t de­fend as poorly as we did tonight and I don’t think we will,” Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton, in re­sponse to a ques­tion re­gard­ing his con­cern about the Semi­noles’ de­fense.

UP NEXT

Tem­ple: Will meet West Vir­ginia in cham­pi­onship game Fri­day.

Florida State: Will meet Illi­nois in the con­so­la­tion game Fri­day.

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