Temple advances to NIT quarterfinals
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Temple coach Fran Dunphy had a good feeling when freshman Obi Enechionyia took a jumper in the first half that was short, popped in the air and fell through the net.
“Sometimes,” Dunphy said, “it’s a sign that it’s your day.”
It certainly was.
Senior Will Cummings scored 21 points, Jesse Morgan had a season-high 20 and Temple beat George Washington 90-77 on Sunday in the second round of the NIT.
Devin Coleman added 13 points and Jaylen Bond finished with eight points and 15 rebounds for the top-seeded Owls (25-10), who never trailed and led by as many as 19 points to easily advance to the quarterfinals where they will host the Louisiana Tech-Texas A&M winner on Wednesday..
“I think we’re just playing with an edge right now,” said Cummings, who scored a season-high 30 points in Temple’s opening-round win over Bucknell on Wednesday. “I think we have something to prove. That’s what’s driving us right now.”
Kethan Savage led fifth-seeded George Washington (22-13) with 25 points while Kevin Larsen added 19 and Yuta Watanabe had 15.
The Colonials rallied to pull within three points early in the second half after Watanabe had a 3-pointer and driving layup out of the break and Larsen followed with two free throws. But Coleman helped the Owls rebuild a comfortable lead, scoring all of his points in the game’s final 10 minutes.
“I don’t think we were great on defense but I think we were very good offensively,” Dunphy said. “Of course you get Devin Coleman going crazy in the second half, it really makes it look like you’re smooth running and you know what you’re doing.”
Temple never trailed, scoring the first nine points of the game and surging to a 20-5 lead after Morgan hit a 3-pointer with 14:23 left in the first half. Morgan scored 15 points in the first half, before passing the scoring load to his fellow transfer Coleman after the break.
The Owls shot 50 percent from the field in their highest scoring game of the season.
“This team is probably the most deserving team in the country to make the NCAA Tournament that didn’t,” George Washington coach Mike Lonergan said. “So it wasn’t a great matchup. But I’m glad we played them.”
George Washington: The Colonials have lost seven straight to Temple, their former Atlantic 10 rival. . GW shot 50 percent (10 for 20) from 3-point range.
Temple: With one more win, the Owls will advance to at least the semifinals of the NIT for the fifth time in program history. . Temple shot 21 for 24 from the free throw line. . The Owls outrebounded the Colonials 38-26.
George Washington: Season over.
Temple: Hosts Louisiana Tech or Texas A&M in the NIT quarterfinals Wednesday.