South Carolina

Temple pounds South Carolina at MSG behind Quinton Rose's 24 points

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Temple pounds South Carolina at MSG behind Quinton Rose's 24 points

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- When it was over, the question posed to Fran Dunphy was simple:

Was this his team's best performance so far this season?

His answer, though, could and maybe should concern future opponents.

"I don't know that I can say that," Dunphy said after Temple's 76-60 rout of South Carolina on Thursday night in the second game of the Under Armour Reunion at Madison Square Garden.

Quinton Rose scored a season-high 24 points to lead Temple, which improved to 4-1 with its fourth win in its last five games. Damion Moore finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Obi Enechionyia added 15 points for the Owls.

"(I'm) proud of our guys," Dunphy said.

Pride was not the emotion Dunphy's counterpart, Frank Martin, felt after the 16-point loss.

"We just got thoroughly outplayed," said Martin, who later added, "Guys have to understand how to play in college," after South Carolina dropped to 5-2. The game was South Carolina's first at Madison Square Garden since Sweet 16 and Elite Eight wins over Baylor and Florida, respectively, last March.

"This is good for us," Martin said. "We've got a young team. We've got to learn. We've got to learn."

David Beatty led the Gamecocks with 13 points. Maik Kotsar scored 12 and Justin Minaya tallied 11.

Leading 38-27 at the start of the second half, Temple outscored the Gamecocks 16-12 in the first 8:20 to extend its lead 54-39. The Owls started the second half with two Enechionyia dunks and a jumper, a Moore jam and jumper, and eight points from Rose.

"I was going out there trying to be aggressive," said Rose, who praised Moore's play. "It makes it a thousand times easier. The guy on defense has to make a decision earlier. If (Moore has) it going (the defender) knows I'm going to dump it off, but he also has to step up and stop me from scoring."

The lead grew to 60-41 after Moore's putback and layup on consecutive possessions. Following the layup with 9:39 left, Martin called time out. It did not matter as Temple pushed its lead to 23, 66-43, after Rose's layup at 6:27.

"We kept missing shots and then turnovers," Martin said. "We had 17 turnovers (and) 12 of them were steals. You give Temple 12 steals (and) they're coming at you in the open court. They're going to make you pay almost every time.

"We struggled to guard the dribble. We guarded the 3-point line. We struggled to guard the dribble and then our bigs did a lot of ball watching. We just didn't play well."

Big picture
South Carolina: The Gamecocks entered the game with their bench having a plus-34 scoring differential over the course of the season. But that number is somewhat misleading. South Carolina's bench outscored its opponents by a combined plus-35 margin in the first two games of the season, only for it to be minus-one in the next four. Against Temple, South Carolina's bench was outscored 25-21.

Temple: The Owls' modus operandi was simple: Get it inside. And oftentimes simple works. To wit: In Temple's 16-point win, 38 of its 76 points were scored in the paint.

Notable
South Carolina: Thursday night's game was the Gamecocks' fifth straight on the road, and sixth out of seven away from home overall.

Temple: The Owls improved to 8-7 all-time against South Carolina. The game was the first between the programs since Dec. 22, 2005.

Up next
South Carolina: Hosts the University of Massachusetts on Saturday afternoon.

Temple: Travels to George Washington Sunday afternoon.

Temple basketball to play 2017 Final Four participant South Carolina at Madison Square Garden

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Temple basketball to play 2017 Final Four participant South Carolina at Madison Square Garden

Temple basketball's non-conference schedule just got much tougher.

The Owls will play South Carolina, who reached the Final Four last season, Nov. 30 in the Under Armour Reunion at Madison Square Garden. Gametime and TV network will be announced next week.

The seventh-seeded Gamecocks reached their first-ever Final Four in 2017, before losing to Gonzaga. 

“We are excited to not only add another high-level program in South Carolina to our schedule but to again play in one of the most historic arenas in the country — Madison Square Garden,” Temple head coach Fran Dunphy said. “This should be a tremendous game for college basketball fans and I want to thank Under Armour for including Temple in this event.”

Add South Carolina to an already tough Owls' schedule that includes Wichita State, Wisconsin and Villanova. 

Dawn Staley, South Carolina win women's NCAA Tournament over Mississippi State

Dawn Staley, South Carolina win women's NCAA Tournament over Mississippi State

DALLAS -- Dawn Staley is going to savor her first NCAA championship. It took her a long time to finally be able to raise the trophy over her head.

A'ja Wilson scored 23 points to help coach Staley and South Carolina win their first national championship with a 67-55 victory over Mississippi State on Sunday night.

Staley made the Final Four three times as a player at Virginia but never won. She also led the Gamecocks to the national semifinals two years ago before losing to Notre Dame.

"It means that I can check off one of the things that had been a void in my career," said Staley wearing the championship net around her neck in the postgame press conference. "Something I wanted to do. It was one of two opportunities that I saw women play when I was younger -- national championship games and Olympics. Those were things that I held dear and near to me growing up. Those were the things I saw and were shooting for."

Wilson, a native South Carolina player who was Staley's biggest recruit ever, was the key. She was thrilled to help Staley get her first title.

"I can't put into words how much it meant to win the game for coach," Wilson said. "She's put in so much time and sweat into this. ... It really means something special to bring this back home for such a great person like coach Staley."

Once the final buzzer sounded, Staley had a long group hug with her coaching staff and then grabbed the trophy and paraded it around the court high over her head. She cut down the final piece of the net, waving it to the huge throng of Gamecocks fans while Wilson and Kaela Davis danced with the South Carolina band playing.

"You have to give tribute to the former players," Staley said. "Go back to my Temple days, they believed in our vision. We took that vision to South Carolina and that vision was we'll be national champions. If you stick with us and if you're disciplined, if you believe all these players believed in that. Happy our words came true to them."

Staley became just the second African-American coach to win a national championship. She joined Carolyn Peck, who won a title at Purdue.

Mississippi State had all the momentum on its side after a shocking win over UConn on Friday night that ended the Huskies' record 111-game winning streak. The Bulldogs couldn't muster the same effort against the Gamecocks. Morgan William, who had become the face of the tournament with the game-winner against the Huskies after a 41-point performance against Baylor, was held to just 8 points.

South Carolina (33-4) turned a 10-point halftime lead into a 45-31 advantage midway through the third quarter before the Bulldogs rallied. Mississippi State (34-5) slowly cut into its deficit, getting with 54-50 on Jazzmun Holmes' jumper. That brought a huge cheer from the thousands of Mississippi State fans who made the 8-hour trip from Starkville, Mississippi.

But that's as close as the Bulldogs could get.

The victory in front of a sellout crowd came one day after the Gamecocks men's basketball team lost in the Final Four in Phoenix.

Wilson, who grew up in South Carolina, blocked a shot on one end of the court and then hit a short jumper in the lane that started a 12-2 run to put the game away. Staley emptied her bench with less than a minute left and Wilson left with tears of joy. The junior center sees a repeat in the future for the Gamecocks, who return most of their core players.

"Man, just be with us next year, we're trying to be in this same spot next year, we're going to see how it goes," Wilson said after winning the most outstanding player award for the Final Four.

The Gamecocks won the title without star center Alaina Coates, who hurt her ankle in the SEC Tournament. She didn't even travel with the team to Dallas.

"Our players never fretted, `La' we got you a ring. We got you a ring," Staley said of Coates. "Allisha Gray, Kaela Davis they all believed in it. They spent a year getting to know our team, getting to know our system. Got the opportunity to play and we become national champions. It's incredible belief and discipline and can't thank them enough for choosing South Carolina."

It was the third loss for the Bulldogs against the Gamecocks this season. Mississippi State dropped a game in South Carolina in the regular season as well as the SEC Tournament title game.

"Today doesn't define us," said Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer, who is 0-9 in his career against South Carolina. "It certainly doesn't define this team or this season. We had a heck of a year. Obviously we've had some hard times dealing with them. Today was no different."

No team had a tougher road to the championship then the second-seeded Bulldogs. They were trying to become the third team in NCAA history to beat three number No. 1 seeds en route to the title. Tennessee did it in 1987 and Louisiana Tech accomplished the same feat a year later. The Bulldogs had already knocked off top-seed Baylor and UConn to get to the championship game.

This was the sixth time in NCAA Tournament history that teams from the same conference played for the national championship, including three by the SEC. Tennessee won both of those matchups, the last coming in 1996 when the Lady Vols beat Georgia.