PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Javan Felix missed his first attempt to win the game in regulation. He didn’t miss the second in overtime.
Felix hit a three-pointer with nine seconds to play in overtime and Texas topped Temple 81-80 on Saturday at Wells Fargo Center.
The Longhorns (8-1) blew a 16-point lead to find themselves trailing with less than three minutes to play. Felix nearly ended the game in regulation as his runner at the buzzer clanged off the rim.
“There was a play called,” Felix said, referring to his game-winner. “I was going to come off the ball screen and either drive or shoot, like I did.
“I was able to get a look. The defender who was guarding me . he was back and his hands were down so I just took the shot.”
That shot would have only tied the game, rather than win it, had Temple’s Dalton Pepper not been called for a lane violation.
Pepper and the Owls looked like they were on their way to a win when Texas big man Connor Lammert missed two free throws with 14.7 remaining. Pepper grabbed the rebound for the Owls, got fouled and went to the line at the other end.
He made both shots, but officials ruled that he stepped over the free-throw line on his second attempt.
“The ref called it, and I was over the line,” he said, adding that he thought the shot was short, prompting him to crash the paint.
Just one of the many ways Texas managed to survive Saturday — after blowing its lead.
Temple (4-4), down 48-37 at the half, out-scored Texas 21-10 over 12 minutes of regulation to force overtime. The Owls tied the game in regulation at 68 and 70 before finally taking their first lead of the game, 71-70, on an Anthony Lee free throw with 3:07 to play. Lee led all scorers and rebounders with 23 points and 14 rebounds.
In overtime, sophomore forward Dan Dingle once again put Temple ahead with 44 seconds remaining on a pair of free throws.
But twice, up three in regulation and up one in overtime, Temple just couldn’t hang on.
“It’s tough,” Pepper said. “We came back from down 16 points, just battling back. We made some big stops, made shots. We fought, but it just didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.”
As the game went on, Texas’ size proved too much for Temple. The Longhorns out-rebounded the Owls 54-43 and outscored them 21-9 on second-chance points. Depth was also a factor, as the Texas bench accounted for 17 more points than Temple’s.
Texas jumped out to such an impressive early lead thanks to guard Isaiah Taylor, who scored 15 points in the opening frame — and then failed to score again for the rest of the game.
When Temple switched to zone in the second half, it stifled Taylor and the Longhorns offense, which turned the ball over 17 times and allowed Temple 22 points going the other way in transition. By game’s end, Jonathan Holmes, not Taylor, led Texas with 16 points and eight rebounds.
“I will make this statement to you, and I think I’m close,” Texas head coach Rick Barnes said. “I think coming into today, Temple had played a total of 18 possessions of zone. And I bet they played that in the second half. And they should have, because we were terrible against it.
“We gave them too many turnovers. We’ve been pretty good against zone, but they were better, and we were back on our heels. I don’t think Fran wanted to play that much zone, but he was smart to stay in it, because we sure didn’t have an answer for it really.”
Fran would be Temple head coach Fran Dunphy.
“Zone saved us,” Dunphy said. “We obviously didn’t do a very good job in the first half playing mostly man. They scored 48 points. We weren’t very good at any aspect of our man-to-man defense. We had worked on zone. We talked about playing zone today. We did a pretty job of that. I think our defense on the passing angles was outstanding. We came up with a bunch of steals and some easy baskets because of it. So zone certainly helped us immeasurably.”
But the foul shooting — and that lane violation — proved the difference.
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