Jalen Adams admits he wasn't the most coachable player during his freshman season last year. But these days, there's no one on the team that his coach trusts more.
Adams scored 13 points and hit a driving layup with 2.9 seconds left as UConn rallied to beat Temple 64-63 on Sunday for its fourth straight win.
"That's our best player," UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. "He made a good move. We've seen that a million times. I wanted him to be more aggressive in the beginning of the game but I'll take that finish any day."
Rodney Purvis finished with 18 points and five assists for the Huskies (14-12, 9-5 American), who overcame a 10-point second-half deficit to win for the seventh time in their last eight contests.
Daniel Dingle led Temple (14-14, 5-10) with 17 points. Damion Moore, Alani Moore II and Shizz Alston Jr. added 11 points apiece but Alston missed a heave at the buzzer as the Owls lost their second straight.
It was the second time this year that the Owls lost a home game on the final play. They dropped a 70-68 decision to Tulsa in similar fashion on Jan. 14.
"It's hard," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "There's not a lot to say other than if we all make one better decision, myself included, we come away with two great wins."
Trailing by 10 midway through the first half, the Huskies rallied to tie the game on a deep Purvis 3-pointer with 2:54 left.
Quinton Rose responded with a 3-pointer for Temple, before Adams hit two free throws with 1:05 left after getting fouled while going for a thunderous dunk.
Down by one, the Huskies got the ball back when Dingle missed the front end of a one-and-one and put the ball in the hands of Adams. The standout sophomore was fouled several times since the Huskies were not yet in the bonus, before driving for the game-winning basket in front of a stunned Liacouras Center crowd.
"I think I learned a lot this year and I'm a lot more coachable," said Adams, UConn's top scorer. "(Ollie) just gives me the freedom to go out there and lead the guys. And I try to take advantage of that."
UConn: After starting 0-3 in conference play for the first time since 1984-85, the Huskies have since gone 9-2 to move into a tie for third place with Houston.
Temple: The Owls, who have been plagued by injuries and inconsistent play this season, will finish league play with a losing record for just the third time in 34 years.
NEVER NERVOUS PURVIS
Although Adams hit the biggest shot of the game, he knows he never would have been in that position if not for Purvis, who not only tied the game at 60-60 but also hit a huge 3-pointer to kickstart the comeback after UConn fell behind by 10.
Of the senior's game-high 18 points, 10 were scored in the final 8:05 of the contest.
"He kept us in the game, making a lot of tough shots," Adams said. "I just wanted to keep getting him the ball because he was pretty hot. I know he was pretty tired but we just needed to keep the ball in his hands."
MORE ON THE MOORES
In the first half, Alani Moore banked in a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to put Temple up 17-11 and hit another tough three to key a 9-3 run that gave the Owls a 35-29 halftime lead.
Damion Moore (no relation) scored the first nine points of the second half for the Owls to help Temple stay in front despite a 8-0 UConn run, before fellow freshman Alani Moore scored five quick points to put the Owls up 49-41 with 12:37 left.
The 11 points were a career high for Damion.
UConn: The Huskies go for their fifth straight win Wednesday at Houston and can move ahead of the Cougars for third place in the AAC.
Temple: The Owls play their second of a three-game homestand when they welcome UCF on Wednesday.