Stuck in a losing streak and clinging to a two-point lead over a Top 25 team, perhaps Temple coach Fran Dunphy should have taken a swig out of a water bottle instead of taking a swing at one.
Angered over an offensive foul whistled against the Owls, Dunphy -- who would rarely be confused with his Hall of Fame predecessor John Chaney for furious outbursts -- smacked the bottle on the scorer's table and the plastic container soared onto the court.
Dunphy was whistled for a technical -- and No. 19 Cincinnati pounced.
The Bearcats took the lead off the T, then capped their rally when Jacob Evans III hit the winner with .4 seconds to play to send the Bearcats to a 55-53 win over Temple on Thursday night.
"I'm usually pretty good at grabbing the bottle," Dunphy said. "I fumbled it and it went on the court. One official came from the other side and said, `I have to call it.'"
Dunphy clearly didn't mean to send the bottle to a landing spot just shy of midcourt. But his open-hand slap with 2:20 left turned the tide toward the Bearcats.
"That's not my style," Dunphy said. "I don't get technical fouls. I don't want players getting them and I shouldn't be getting them either."
Cincinnati forward Gary Clark made one of two free throws off the technical to cut the Bearcats' deficit to one. Kyle Washington put the Bearcats ahead 52-50 on a 3-pointer off a loose ball rebound from Clark's miss.
Alani Moore II scored three straight points for Temple that tied the game at 53-all.
Evans hit the jumper from a step inside the top of the 3-point arc over Josh Brown in the final second to win it.
"I just tried to use my size and get a shot up on the rim," Evans said. "Everybody's watching. It's a nationally televised game. That should be enough juice there. If people want to get to the next level, you've got to perform every night."
Washington led the Bearcats (13-2, 2-0 American Athletic Conference) with 18 points and Evans had 14.
Obi Enechionyia led the Owls (7-7, 0-3) with 14 points. The Owls have lost four straight games.
Temple got nothing from leading scorer Quinton Rose (16.5 points) in a game where they seriously needed his production against one of the top teams in the AAC. He missed his first five shots and didn't score until there was 5:05 left in the game. De'Vondre Perry's jumper with 8:15 left had stretched Temple's lead to 46-38 and Rose's bucket kept the lead at 50-43 and that coveted victory over a Top 25 team remained in its sight.
But there were several wasted chances for Temple.
The Owls were set to jog to the locker room with a five-point lead until a review confirmed that J.P Moorman II fouled Trevon Scott with .1 seconds left. Scott hit both to trim Temple's lead to 29-26 at the break.
The Bearcats had averaged 80.9 points a game and averaged eight 3s but were stymied by a Temple defense that helped force 13 turnovers in the first half and limited them to two 3s.
"I told them at halftime, `You don't put on your boxing gloves and it's going to get worse," Bearcats coach Mick Cronin said.
Cincinnati: G Cane Broome (9.8 points) sat out with an injured ankle. ... The Bearcats finished with only three 3-pointers and shot only 39 percent overall from the field.
Temple: The Owls have started the same five players in every game. ... Temple shot 27 percent in the second half. ... Temple has a streak of 10 straight seasons with a win over a Top 25 team.
Temple offered a ticket exchange for fans unable to attend the game because of inclement weather. There were maybe 1,000 fans at the Liacouras Center.
Cincinnati returns home to play against SMU on Sunday.
The Owls play two straight on the road, starting Sunday against UFC and Jan. 10 at SMU.