HARTFORD, Conn. - Josh Brown had already exceeded his eight point season average by scoring nine points in the first half at the XL Center. Despite the above average start for the Newark, New Jersey native, his second half wasn’t so hot in terms of scoring, and consequently, the UConn Huskies were able to keep pace with the Temple Owls. The contest’s outcome came down to the last second.
Almost exactly one year after he missed three consecutive free throws during last season’s overtime contest in Hartford that could have won the Huskies the game over the Owls, UConn’s Daniel Hamilton tied the game by hitting two clutch free throws in a row. With 29 seconds left in regulation, the Temple Owls and UConn Huskies were tied at 53. Although Temple still had a timeout left to call, Josh Brown brought the ball up the court and it seemed as though he wanted to play the game straight up without stopping the clock. Nonetheless, the eventual expected timeout was called by Brown but not after 15 seconds had ticked off the clock and 14 seconds were left in the game.
After the game however, it was learned that Brown preferred not to call the timeout.
“Before the timeout I just wanted to take it,” Brown said with a smile on his face. “I tried to tell coach but he wanted to call a timeout to settle us down.”
Perhaps he didn’t want to call the timeout because he knew the play call would be for the Owls leading senior scorer, Quenton DeCosey, but in the end, Brown was the one who made the play.
“The play was really for Quenton,” head coach Fran Dunphy clarified. “He had a terrific game for us. He has earned that right, Quenton DeCosey, to help us win games.”
Out of the timeout, Brown set up the play at the top of the key but with time running out, the ball was still in the junior point guard’s hands.
“I saw an opening and tried to make a play, which I did, and I’m glad I made it,” Brown said.
With six seconds left, the lengthy guard drove into the lane, performed a crafty spin move around the free throw line and made a floater to give Temple a 55-53 lead with two seconds left on the clock. UConn’s last second desperation heave from halfcourt clanked off the backboard and the Owls came away with their second victory over a ranked team this season
“Going to my right I knew he would try to beat me to that spot, so I spun off of him,” Brown said. “I got a couple inches on him and shot over him.”
Though Brown isn’t Temple’s premier scorer, this isn’t the first time he has hit a game winning shot. Last year, in another close conference game that came down to the last possession, Brown hit a last second midrange bank shot to give the Owls a one-point lead over the Memphis Tigers that eventually won the game. Temple had timeouts to call in the closing seconds of that contest, but elected not to call them, which proved to be beneficial. Brown was able to set his feet and nail the jump shot calmly as his defender was late in transition, which may be why Brown wanted to not call the timeout against UConn, because he prefers playing in continuous action.
“He just figured out a way to get that last shot to go. He was real poised on the shot and as soon as it left his hands I thought that we had a real good chance of it going in,” Dunphy said. “His shot last year at Memphis really helped us a great deal and I’m hoping that this has the same effect this year.”
With Temple now at 7-6 overall and 2-1 in conference play, they will look to carry the momentum of the wins over two ranked teams this past week into their game against East Carolina on Saturday, January 9th.
Photo: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports