Temple Routs UConn 85-57 - NBC Connecticut
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Temple Routs UConn 85-57

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    Temple has made a habit this season of playing games that are decided in the final minute. The Owls far prefer blowing the doors off teams.

    Shizz Alston Jr. scored 18 points, Quinton Rose had 17 and Temple rolled to an 85-57 win over UConn on Sunday night.

    The Owls shot 49 percent from the field in their most lopsided win of the season and their largest margin of victory over UConn.

    "It's definitely better when you come out with wins like this," Alston said, "because it shows you have your act together."

    Christian Vital finished with 15 points for the Huskies, who were playing for the first time since it was revealed their program is the target of an NCAA investigation.

    University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst said in a statement Friday the school will cooperate with the probe but did not specify the allegations. Before the game began, UConn head coach Kevin Ollie issued a similar statement.

    "With regard to the inquiry directed at our men's basketball program, I want to express that we will cooperate fully with the NCAA as this process moves forward as we are committed to promoting an atmosphere of compliance with NCAA regulations," Ollie stated. "As we head into the final weeks of the season our total focus will be on helping our team improve and reach its highest potential. To that end, we will have no further comment on this matter."

    When asked after the loss if the investigation might be affecting his players, Ollie was tight-lipped.

    "The vibes are still good," the Huskies coach said. "We look forward to cooperating with the NCAA. And I just go back to the statement."

    After UConn took an early 18-14 lead on three straight 3-pointers, Temple (11-10, 3-6 American Athletic Conference) went on a 24-4 run to take control of the game. The Owls built their lead to 53-30 on an off-balance floater by Rose with 14 minutes left en route to their third win in their last four contests.

    Ernest Aflakpui added a season-high 13 points, freshman Nate Pierre-Louis had 12 off the bench, and Obi Enechionyia grabbed 10 rebounds, eight of them on the offensive end, to go along with nine points.

    "It's nice to have a game like we had tonight," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "I thought on both sides of the ball we played pretty well."

    UConn (11-10, 4-4) committed 16 turnovers and shot 5 for 17 from 3-point range to lose for the third time in four games.

    "We wanted to take the first punch, and I thought we did that," Ollie said. "Then they threw their second punch and we didn't counter-punch."

    BIG PICTURE

    UConn: A rough campaign got even worse for Ollie and company with news of the NCAA investigation and their third blowout loss in the last two weeks. This is the first season the Huskies have ever lost six games by 20 or more points.

    Temple: Even though they sit near the bottom of the AAC standings, the Owls are still harboring NCAA Tournament hopes. But despite boasting the No. 1 strength of schedule in the country and owning impressive victories over Auburn and Clemson in the first month, Temple probably needs to be close to perfect the rest of the way to even get onto the bubble.

    TAKING AWAY JALEN

    UConn top scorer Jalen Adams was held to seven points on 2-for-10 shooting.

    Afterwards, Ollie said that Adams being held in check has been a "common thread" to all of the Huskies' lopsided losses, while Dunphy admitted taking him out of the game was a major point of emphasis.

    "I thought we did a good job with Adams, keeping him in front of us," the Temple coach said. "He can really be a son of a gun to guard. To have it where he didn't kill us was a real good effort."