Temple Owls

Temple women's basketball dropped by Oregon in NCAA Tournament 1st round

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Temple women's basketball dropped by Oregon in NCAA Tournament 1st round

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DURHAM, N.C. -- Ruthy Hebard hit the biggest shot of the year for Oregon -- then got her hand on the final shot of Temple's season.

"I was kidding Ruthy, this might be the best 5 seconds of her life," Ducks coach Kelly Graves said.

Hebard hit a jumper with 5.5 seconds remaining, then blocked the Owls' layup at the buzzer to preserve Oregon's 71-70 victory on Saturday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

She finished with 23 points and Sabrina Ionescu added 16 points to help the 10th-seeded Ducks (21-13) win a wild game that had three lead changes in the final 30 seconds and advance to Monday night's second-round matchup with second-seeded Duke.

Alliya Butts scored 28 points and Feyonda Fitzgerald added 16 for the seventh-seeded Owls (24-8), in the tournament for the first time since 2011. Fitzgerald put Temple up 70-69 with a jumper with 14.3 seconds remaining.

Oregon called a timeout and dialed up a play the Ducks had repeatedly run for Ionescu. This time, Graves said, he wanted the ball in Hebard's hands.

Mallory McGwire delivered a perfect high-post pass to Hebard, who hit the go-ahead jumper from the edge of the lane.

"I just felt that they were going to give (Ionescu) some added attention, and that Ruthy might be open kind of slipping to the basket," Graves said. "Both defenders kind of went with Sabrina."

The Owls were out of timeouts so they inbounded the ball to Fitzgerald, who then raced coast-to-coast but Hebard got a piece of her last-gasp layup attempt at the buzzer.

Hebard said she "just swung my arm and hoped I didn't foul," while Temple coach Tonya Cardoza said she had no regrets with how the game ended.

"We're going to live and die with her taking the last shot," coach Tonya Cardoza said.

McGwire finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds for Oregon, which overcame a rough night from 3-point range to win the opener of its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2005.

Lexi Bando, who makes a Division I-best 50 percent of her 3-pointers, was 0-for-4 from long range for the Ducks before her 3 from the corner tied it at 62 with just under 5 minutes left. It was a one-possession game the rest of the way.

Big picture
Oregon: The Ducks entered as the nation's second-best team from 3-point range, hitting nearly 40 percent of their attempts. They were just 4 of 16 against a Temple team that allows its opponents to shoot just 30 percent from long range.

"We grinded it out, we got stops when we needed to," Ionescu said. "We made big shots down the stretch even though our shots weren't falling like they usually do."

Temple: Ruth Sherrill, a 6-foot forward who had four double-figure scoring games all season, had 10 points by halftime but was held scoreless and missed all five of her shots after halftime while going up against one of the tallest frontcourts in Division I.

"They're a lot bigger than they look on film," Cardoza said.

Star watch
Butts was 12 of 19 from the field and hit all four of Temple's 3-pointers. "When I started shooting, shots started falling," she said, "so I continued to shoot the ball."

Not freshmen anymore
Oregon's three double-figure scorers -- Hebard, Ionescu and McGwire -- were all freshmen, and they combined to take 45 of the Ducks' 67 shots. "I don't think we consider ourselves freshmen anymore," said Ionescu, the Pac-12's freshman of the year. "We have to step up to the level of competition."

He said it
Graves said he was so impressed by Temple's guards that "I would have bought season tickets" to watch them play.

Up next
Oregon: Plays second-seeded Duke on Monday night in the second round of the Bridgeport Regional.

Temple 24, No. 20 Cincinnati 17 (OT): Owls score homecoming win

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Temple 24, No. 20 Cincinnati 17 (OT): Owls score homecoming win

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After throwing three interceptions, Temple's Anthony Russo came through down the stretch and the Owls handed one of the most surprising teams in the country its first loss.

Russo threw a tying, 20-yard touchdown pass with 49 second left to Brandon Mack, and then a 25-yard TD to Isaiah Wright in overtime as Temple beat No. 20 Cincinnati 24-17 on Saturday.

Russo was 20 for 41 for 237 yards passing, with three touchdown passes and three picks for the Owls (5-3, 4-0 American). He led a seven-play, 75-yard drive in the closing minutes to tie the game with the TD to Mack.

"We just didn't quit," Russo said. "I think that's a big step for our team and something we're going to build on."

Cincinnati (6-1, 2-1) got a first down on its first play of overtime, but an errant snap behind quarterback Desmond Ridder left the Bearcats with second-and-21 and a personal foul pushed them even further back. Ridder was intercepted on third-and-36 by Shaun Bradley to end the game.

Temple receiver Randall Jones caught five passes for 67 yards and scored a touchdown.

"They just took shots," Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell said. "They made some plays down the field and you have to give them some credit."

The Bearcats, coming off a 4-8 season, were off to their best start since 2009.

"You can't get overwhelmed with being 6-0 and forget about the things that got you there," Fickell said. "This is an opportunity for us to quit worrying about the undefeated, the rankings and really kind of go back to work."

Cincinnati's Michael Warren II and Charles McClelland combined for 202 yards on the ground and the Bearcats dominated the middle quarters after falling behind 10-0.

McClelland's 42-yard dash with 6:09 left in the third quarter broke a 10-10 tie and gave the Bearcats their first lead. Warren had 132 yards on 25 carries and scored a 24-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Ridder was 14 for 33 for 111 yards.

"We went at them and we just kept chipping away and chipping away," Collins said. "The guys did a great job when it mattered."

The Bearcats picked off Russo twice in the final six minutes, but Temple's defense kept holding and giving the offense a chance. Temple got the ball back after a Cincinnati punt with 2:37 to play and Russo took over from there for a tying drive.

"You could sense and feel a little bit of that going down the stretch there," Fickell said. "Defensively, you play so well for so long and something has to give down the stretch."

The takeaway
Cincinnati: After turning the ball over twice in the first half, the Bearcats' defense was dominant before Temple's final drive. Normally a strong dual-threat option, Desmond Ridder struggled with Temple's pressure and ran for only nine yards.

"If you can't protect the quarterback, it's going to be a long day," Fickell said.

Temple: Two short fields set up a 10-0 Owls lead, but the offense really struggled to find its footing in the second and third quarters. Temple's defense forced enough pressure to get the ball back in its offense's hands and keep the game alive.

Offensively we started fast, sputtered in the middle, and then when it counted the came up huge," Collins said. "When it mattered most, the guys on this team stepped up and made plays."

Missing the mark
Cincinnati kicker Cole Smith converted just one of his four field-goal attempts. The four tries were more than the three he'd attempted all season entering Saturday.

One of Smith's misses, though, was a bit peculiar. On a fourth down with 1:46 remaining in the first half, Temple called timeout to stop the clock. There was also a television timeout.

The Bearcats snapped the ball after the timeout and Smith's kick split the uprights, but the officials ruled the ball had not been marked for play out of the television timeout. Moments later, Smith missed wide right.

"There is no explanation for it," Fickell said.

Up next
Cincinnati: at SMU on Saturday

Temple: at UCF on Thursday, November 1.

Anthony Russo throws 4 TDs as Temple continues dominance over East Carolina

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Anthony Russo throws 4 TDs as Temple continues dominance over East Carolina

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Anthony Russo threw for four touchdowns and Temple rolled past East Carolina 49-6 on Saturday.

Russo, a freshman making his fourth start, was 21-of-25 passing for 254 yards and was intercepted once. He threw a 24-yard TD pass to Sean Ryan and a 7-yarder to Branden Mack for a 14-0 first-quarter lead.

Isaiah Wright's 59-yard punt return down the left sideline made it 28-0 in the second quarter and extended the Owls' streak of scoring a non-offensive touchdown in all six of their games this season. He caught a 19-yard TD pass for a 35-3 halftime lead.

Russo's fourth scoring pass was a 31-yarder on a one-handed catch by Randle Jones in the third quarter.

The Owls (3-3, 2-0 American), who have won five straight over the Pirates (2-3, 0-2), outgained ECU 470-193, allowing the Pirates just 3.1 yards per catch and 2.7 per carry.