Temple guard Quinton Rose drives to the basket against UConn.
Austin Ampeloquio & Benjamin Simon
NEW YORK — Following Thursday night’s game between Temple and South Carolina, USC’s head coach Frank Martin said that Quinton Rose is a guard who doesn’t look powerful but still plays strong.
If Rose’s strength hadn’t been evident in the first few games this season, where Rose had averaged 17.5 points and 7.3 rebounds, he put it on display early at Madison Square Garden.
And the play that will stick out: a calm toss up from half court, intended as a half court lob to Obi Enechionyia, that instead landed into the basket. And it counted for three points.
Temple (4-1) beat South Carolina (5-2) 76-60 in the finale of the Under Armour Reunion. Temple’s guard play, specifically from Rose, proved to be a key factor in the victory.
While Martin said Rose is a strong player, he probably didn’t think Rose was strong enough to easily throw a halfcourt chest pass into the hoop.
It was just that kind of night for Rose.
Rose’s size and strength proved to be a matchup nightmare for South Carolina’s guards. He scored 24 points and did so efficiently. In 33 minutes, Rose made 10 of his 13 shot attempts including two three pointers and two foul shots.
Rose additionally only had one turnover against South Carolina after turning the ball over seven times in a loss to La Salle on Sunday. That has been a problem for Rose during the first four games, averaging 3.4 turnovers per game on the season. But against South Carolina, Rose was much more under control.
“He did a really good job,” Dunphy said. “Obviously he can score it and he does that, but I thought he handled the ball much better tonight.”
Amongst Dunphy’s seven tournament teams however, only one of their leading scorers by season end has averaged less than two turnovers per game. In other words, turnovers often come with being the go-to scorer in Dunphy’s offense.
Outside of the lack of turnovers, Rose’s shiftiness off the dribble paired with his ability to finish at the rim or make a perimeter jump shot caused even more problems for South Carolina.
Martin acknowledged that and said Rose “understands how to get to his spot and jump up and shoot over a smaller player.”
Rose’s shot selection against the Gamecocks was one of the main keys to his efficient performance. He made an effort to consistently get inside the paint instead of settling for 3-point shots. 10 of his shots came inside the perimeter and only three attempts were hoisted up from behind the arc. His discipline to attack the rim has been a constant in Rose’s top scoring games as he has shot four or less 3-pointers in all of his three 20-point outings.
“I was just going out there trying to be aggressive offensively and defensively to help my team get a win,” Rose said.
Temple’s ability to get steals and push the pace in transition helped with Rose’s shot selection. The Owls had 12 steals and forced 17 total turnovers on the Gamecocks. Temple ended with nine fastbreak points and 18 points off turnovers.
“[When] you turn him loose down court and he’s coming down hill at you, it’s hard,” Martin said of Rose after the game.
Rose’s inclose shot selection seemed to be contagious as well, as Temple outscored South Carolina 38-26 in the paint.
Sophomore center Damion Moore specifically benefited from Temple’s attacking of the basket, scoring a career-high 20 points on 8 of 11 shooting against the Gamecocks. Rose said Moore’s consistency at the rim against South Carolina helped spread the floor for Temple.
“If [Damion] has it going, he knows I’m going to dump off,” Rose said. “It makes it a thousand times easier.”
Moore’s success in the paint provided an option that the Owls hadn’t had all year. Up until that point, neither Moore nor Aflakpui, the ‘5’ men for Temple, had scored double digit points individually. Their ability to score inside going forward would provide a dimension that no one else on the Temple roster can match, especially when Obi Enechionyia is running more of a stretch ‘4.’
After their win against South Carolina, the Owls are now 18th in the nation in terms of strength of record and 2nd in terms of RPI (Rating Percentage Index), according to ESPN’s BPI. Temple has wins over Old Dominion, Auburn, Clemson, and South Carolina. In five games this season, the Owls have only lost to Big 5 rival La Salle. After beating the Gamecocks at Madison Square Garden, Rose said the team is feeling confident and has to use the win as momentum heading into Washington D.C.
“I think we’re in a good spot,” Rose said. “We’re right where we want to be...so we just have to keep this energy going.”
Temple takes on George Washington on Sunday, where they will look to take advantage of a 3-4 Colonials squad. The Washington D.C. school is led by senior Yuta Watanabe who will provide an inside-outside scoring attack at 6-foot-9. The Japan native has averaged 14.7 points per game and 7.3 rebounds, while attempting 30 3-pointers on the season. His ability to score and attack the boards will certainly put Moore, Aflakpui, and Enechionyia to the test.
And who knows?
After Rose’s showing of strength against South Carolina, Temple fans may see Rose going at Watanabe, cleaning the glass, and putting more pressure on the George Washington defense.
-Temple loses to Penn State in the first round of the NIT tournament