Shizz Alston

The Fran Dunphy era ends as Temple falls to Belmont in First Four of NCAA Tournament

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The Fran Dunphy era ends as Temple falls to Belmont in First Four of NCAA Tournament

Updated: 1:31 a.m. 

DAYTON, Ohio — A few seconds were still left on the clock when Fran Dunphy headed to midcourt for his final postgame handshake, the outcome long decided. Belmont was simply too much for his Owls.

Nobody else in the NCAA Tournament is excited to face their efficient offense, either.

Kevin McClain scored 29 points and led the decisive second-half run as Belmont got its first NCAA Tournament win, pulling away to an 81-70 victory Tuesday night and ending Dunphy's career in the First Four.

The 11th-seeded Bruins (27-5) play Maryland on Thursday in the East Region.

"We belong in this tournament," said McClain, who finished two points shy of his career high. "You can see that."

Belmont got an at-large bid after losing to Murray State in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament title game. The Bruins showed the selection committee's faith was not misplaced, getting the breakthrough win on their eighth try.

"I think that they can play in this atmosphere and this is important," coach Rick Byrd said. "I didn't think many times we played well, or knew what we were in offensively, but they found a way to win. And you never play perfect, and I think they've got some toughness about them."

The loss sent Temple (23-10) into a transition. Dunphy is retiring after his 13th season at Temple, where he replaced John Chaney. Dunphy previously coached 17 seasons at Penn.

"The game of basketball has given me way more than I have given to it," Dunphy said.

He was hoping to coach another day, but Belmont's high-scoring offense pulled away at the end. Senior guard Shizz Alston Jr. led the Owls with 21 points.

"That team is smart," Alston said. "They only do what they're good at."

The Bruins entered the tournament second in the nation at 87.4 points per game. The Owls' aim was to slow the high-percentage offense just enough to give themselves a chance. Temple hung in during a first half that featured five lead changes and ended with Belmont ahead 37-31.

The Bruins pushed their lead to 11 points by hitting their first two shots in the second half. Alston, who led the American Athletic Conference at 19.7 points per game, hit three 3-pointers as the Owls surged ahead 50-46. Alston has been the Owls' catalyst, scoring at least 20 points in each of his last nine games.

McClain led a 16-3 run that put Belmont ahead to stay. McClain finished two points shy of his career high.

The Bruins' balanced offense had more than enough even though leading scorer Dylan Windler was held to five points on 2-of-7 shooting, matching his season low. Windler came in averaging 21.4 points.

Big picture 
Temple: Former Owls star Aaron McKie takes over for Dunphy. McKie is an assistant on Dunphy's staff. The Owls haven't won an NCAA Tournament game since 2013, when they beat N.C. State at Dayton before losing in the second round. They went 2-8 in eight appearances under Dunphy.

Belmont: The Bruins got only the second at-large NCAA Tournament bid in Ohio Valley Conference history, along with Middle Tennessee in 1987. They'd dropped their seven appearances when they had automatic bids.

Tourney history 
Temple's last NCAA Tournament win was in 2013 over N.C. State in Dayton. The Owls are 33-33 all-time in the tournament.

Belmont is making its eighth NCAA appearance since 2006. Its closest previous brush with a victory was a one-point loss to Duke in 2008.

Moose tracks
Six-foot-11 freshman center Nick Muszynski missed the OVC title game with a sprained left ankle, injured the previous game. Muszynski, whose nickname is Moose, started Tuesday and had 16 points and four rebounds. He wore a protective boot after the game.

"I thought he played terrific," Byrd said. "We just didn't know what we were going to get. Frankly, yesterday in practice he didn't look very good at all. But he really showed a lot today."

Philly fewer 
Philadelphia's Big 5 rivalry lost two of its longtime coaches Tuesday. In addition to Dunphy heading into retirement, Saint Joseph's fired Phil Martelli after his 24th season.

No stage fright 
The crowd at University of Dayton Arena was 11,874, the second-largest Belmont has played in front of this season. The high was 14,804 at Mackey Arena on Dec. 29, when Belmont lost to Purdue 73-62.

Up next 
Belmont heads to Jacksonville, Florida, for its game against Maryland.

Shizz Alston's career night vs. UConn helps keep Temple's NCAA tournament at-large hopes alive

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Shizz Alston's career night vs. UConn helps keep Temple's NCAA tournament at-large hopes alive

BOX SCORE 

STORRS, Conn. — Shizz Alston Jr. told himself he wasn't going to let Temple's NCAA tournament bubble burst against UConn.

The senior scored a career-high 34 points, leading the Owls back from a six-point second-half deficit to a 78-71 road win on Thursday and keeping their hopes alive for an at-large tournament berth.

Alston hit 12 of his 14 shots from the floor and was 4 of 5 from behind the arc for Temple (22-8, 12-5 American), which had beaten the Huskies by 18 points in Philadelphia in January.

"I just wasn't going to let us lose," Alston said. "I knew if we kept pace with them, we could pull it out in the end, but I never wanted them to get separation, because they're a dangerous home team."

Quinton Rose added 20 points for Temple, which secured a bye in the first round of next week's conference tournament.

Christian Vital had 26 points off the bench for UConn (14-16, 5-12), which lost for the first time this season at Gampel Pavilion. Josh Carlton added 21 points in a losing effort.

UConn trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half, but came back to take its first lead five minutes into the second half on a long 3-pointer from Tyler Polley.

Carlton brought the crowd to its feet with a dunk off a spin move, part of a run that saw UConn go up 53-47.

The Huskies led 58-56 when Alterique Gilbert, their point guard, took an elbow to the face and had to be taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Vital said that took the air out of both the team and the arena.

"He's one of our best players," Vital said. "Clearly, whenever you have one of your better players go down, it's going to disrupt the team, especially in the second half. We had our flow going."

A steal and dunk from Alston put Temple up 65-60 and the Owls hit their free throws down the stretch to hang on.

"He made some big, big baskets tonight," said Temple coach Fran Dunphy, who was coaching his final regular-season road game. "He's not a dunker, but I'm sure he felt he had great legs about him on that play."

Big picture 
Temple: The Owls have won five of their last six to join Houston, Cincinnati and UCF with tournament byes.

UConn: The Huskies finish the regular-season 8-1 at Gampel Pavilion. They are 6-15 on all other courts. UConn will have to win this weekend and take at least two games in the conference tournament to avoid a third straight losing season.

"This is what it should look like in year one of what we've gotta do around here, rebuild this thing," said UConn coach Dan Hurley.

Stats of the night 
Temple shot 49 percent from the floor, hit 7 of 12 shots from 3-point range and made 17 of 20 free throws.

Moving up the charts 
Alston's four 3-pointers gives him 89 this season, tying him with Mike Vreeswyk for fifth place on the program's single-season list. His 589 points this season ranks 20th in program history.

Better from distance 
The Huskies, who missed all 15 shots from behind the arc against USF on Sunday, missed their first two in this one. The streak ended with a long 3-pointer from Christian Vital that gave UConn its first points. He ended up hitting seven of 11 3-point shots and the team was 10 of 29 from long distance.

Up next 
Temple: The Owls close the regular season at home on Saturday with a showdown against UCF, which came into Thursday 12-4 in the conference.

UConn: UConn wraps up the season at East Carolina on Sunday.

Quinton Rose's late heroics give Temple dramatic overtime win over Davidson

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Quinton Rose's late heroics give Temple dramatic overtime win over Davidson

BOX SCORE 

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Quinton Rose's dunk off his steal with 2.9 seconds left in overtime gave Temple a 77-75 win over Davidson in the Air Force Reserve Basketball Hall of Fame Boardwalk Classic on Saturday.

Davidson's Carter Collins made a pair of foul shots and the Wildcats led 75-69 with 1:32 left in overtime. Rose nailed a 3 to bring the Owls within 75-72 with 68 seconds left and Shizz Alston Jr.'s 3-pointer knotted the score at 75 with 32 seconds remaining.

At the end of regulation, Nate Pierre-Louis and J.P. Moorman II sandwiched 3-pointers around one from Collins and regulation ended knotted at 66.

Alston scored 24 points and distributed 11 assists, while Rose scored 18. Moorman and De'Vondre Perry scored 14 and 11, respectively.

Luke Frampton led Davidson (8-2) with 24 points. Collins scored 16, KiShawn Pritchett 12 and Jon Axel Gudmundsson 10.