Temple Owls

Temple caps Collins' 1st season with Gasparilla Bowl win

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Temple caps Collins' 1st season with Gasparilla Bowl win


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Geoff Collins has lofty expectations for Temple.

"The future is bright," the first-year coach said after Frank Nutile threw for 254 yards and a touchdown to lead the Owls to a 28-3 victory over Florida International in the Gasparilla Bowl on Thursday night.

Nutile teamed with Isaiah Wright on 45-yard TD play in the fourth quarter and also scored on a 4-yard run to give the Owls (7-6) an early lead. He completed passes of 13 and 17 yards to escape a first-and-30 hole before throwing 39 yards to Adonis Jennings to set up another TD.

The victory was the fourth in five games for Temple, which rebounded from a 3-5 start to finish with a winning record. The Owls, American Athletic Conference champions a year ago, won a bowl game for the first time since the 2011 New Mexico Bowl.

"The ceiling is the roof," Collins said amid a celebration at Tropicana Field.

FIU (8-5) matched a school record for victories in its first year under Butch Davis, the former Miami, North Carolina and Cleveland Browns coach.

"Nobody's ever happy about losing a game," Davis said. "But what these kids accomplished this year, nobody thought was even remotely possible."

The Panthers played most of the night without quarterback Alex McGough, who left in the opening quarter with what Davis said was a fractured collarbone. Maurice Alexander replaced him, but had limited success throwing the ball and was intercepted twice.

Nutile finished 17 of 27 passing with no interceptions and was named game MVP. He threw 13 yards to Keith Kirkwood and 17 yards to Isaiah Wright on consecutive plays before Jennings' long reception moved the Owls into position to go up 14-3 on David Hood's 1-yard TD run.

Wright's TD reception made it 21-3 midway through the fourth quarter. Ryquell Armstead also scored on a 5-yard run for Temple.

"It means a lot. ... We've been through a lot," Nutile said. "Our team's mindset was to go out there and leave it all on the field."

Forced into action
Alexander completed 16 of 33 passes for 162 yards for FIU. The Panthers were unable to run the ball consistently to take pressure off the backup quarterback, finishing with 88 yards on the ground and avoiding a shutout with Jose Borregales' 27-yard field goal in the third quarter.

What a rush
Temple's defense set a Gasparilla Bowl record with seven sacks. LB William Kwenkeu led the way with two. The Owls also forced three turnovers, including a fumble that Freddie Booth-Lloyd recovered to set up Armstead's late TD.

The takeaway
Temple: Collins inherited a program that won the American Athletic Conference in 2016, the Owls' first league crown since 1967. After a slow start that saw them lose five of eight, the Owls returned from a bye week to win three of four to become bowl eligible. This year's senior class won 33 games over four seasons, an Owls record.

FIU: The Panthers hope to raise their profile under Davis, and matching the school record for wins and appearing in a bowl for the first time is a start. The Panthers finished second in Conference USA's East Division and placed 12 players on the league's all-conference team.

Up next
Temple: The Owls made significant strides in first-year offensive coordinator David Patenaude's system after Nutile, a redshirt junior moved into the starting lineup in October. Starting receivers Kirkwood and Jennings are seniors, however Wright, a sophomore, led the Owls with 46 receptions for 668 yards with four TDs and will provide some continuity at the position.

FIU: Key changes on offense. McGough, the Panthers' career leader in TD passes and No. 2 in career completions and passing yards, is a senior. Alexander appeared in seven games during the regular season, however the sophomore only attempted six passes. Leading receiver Thomas Owens (59 receptions, 887 yards, 6 TDs in nine games) is also a senior.

Temple put back on its heels in AAC tourney ouster

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Temple put back on its heels in AAC tourney ouster


ORLANDO, Fla. -- No. 11 Wichita State has advanced to the semifinals of American Athletic Conference tournament.


Landry Shamet scored 24 points, Rashard Kelly had 16 and the Shockers held off pesky Temple for an 89-81 victory on Friday night.

Wichita State (25-6) also got a strong performance from its reserves, including 13 points from Austin Reaves. Next up is the winner of the Houston-Central Florida game.

The Shockers won two of three against the Owls this season, and the outcome was in doubt every time.

"We certainly do bring out the best in them," Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. "The bottom line is that they make a lot of shots against us, but we usually do get great contributions from our bench. We go 10 or 11 deep and that's a good thing."

Wichita State led 78-75 with 2:23 left and closed it out with 11 foul shots.

Temple stayed close with its perimeter shooting. The Owls went 11 of 24 from 3-pointg range and shot 50.9 percent from the field overall.

Quinton Rose led Temple (17-15) with 25 points. Shizz Alston and Josh Brown each had 15 points for the Owls, who didn't have enough depth to keep pace with Wichita State in the final minutes.

"I loved our fight, I loved how we were hanging with them each and every moment," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "I think late we just needed another basket, another stop, but they're a really good basketball team. They made some veteran plays at the right time."

The Shockers were clinging to a 63-61 lead with eight minutes to play when Reaves, fellow reserve Markis McDuffie and Kelly powered a key 13-3 run. The three combined for 11 points in the surge and helped cool off Rose while leading Wichita State to a 76-64 advantage with just over four minutes remaining.

Shaquille Morris made two foul shots to put the Shockers up 55-45 early in the second half, but the Owls rallied behind Rose. The sophomore guard scored 12 of his team's next 14 points to cut the deficit to 61-59 with 9:10 left.

"Quinton did a great job in that stretch and got us where we needed to be," Dunphy said. "But again, we needed a little better effort at the defensive end and just be a little smarter."

Big picture
Temple: The Owls had some nice early season wins -- Wisconsin, Clemson, Auburn, South Carolina -- but need to take the next step in the conference season. The Owls were only 8-10 in AAC play.

Wichita State: The Shockers are aching for a rematch with top-seeded Cincinnati, but first they'll have to get past the winner of the Houston-UCF game and they've struggled with both. Houston handed Wichita State its worst loss of the season, and UCF took the Shockers to overtime before losing in the second-to-last game of the regular season. Wichita State will need another good night from its reserves to reach the finals.

Temple narrowly avoids disaster

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Temple narrowly avoids disaster


ORLANDO, Fla. -- Shizz Alston Jr. hit three free throws in the final minute and Temple avoided being upset by a lower seed in the first round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament for the second year in a row, holding off Tulane 82-77 Thursday night.

Temple, the No. 7 seed, advances to face second-seeded Wichita State on Friday in the tourney quarterfinals.

Last year the eighth-seeded Owls were upset by No. 9 seed ECU.

Nate Pierre-Louis made a free throw with 1:01 left to give Temple a 77-71 lead, but the 10th-seeded Green Wave roared back behind two Cameron Reynolds 3-pointers sandwiched around an Alston free throw to make it 78-77 with :37 remaining. Alston was fouled with :16 left and hit both free throws to make it 80-77, and Caleb Daniels missed a 3 with :05 left that would have tied the game. Josh Brown added two free throws with a second left to set the final score.

Obi Enechionyia led the Owls (17-14) with 19 points. Alston added 17 points and dished eight assists and Brown added 15 points, six boards, three assists and two steals.

Reynolds hit 3 of 7 from distance and paced Tulane (14-17) with 22 points. Melvin Frazier added 15 points and Samir Sehic and Ray Ona Embo added 11 and 10 points, respectively.