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(21) Connecticut (20-5) at Temple (7-17)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 20, 9 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Liacouras Center (10,200) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: UConn 13-2, Temple 3-8. Away Record: UConn 4-3, Temple 2-7. Neutral Record: UConn 3-0, Temple 2-2. Conference Record: UConn 8-4, Temple 2-10. Series Record: Connecticut leads, 5-3.

GAME NOTES: The Temple Owls continue their murderous stretch of games against formidable foes, as they play host to the 21st-ranked Connecticut Huskies in American Athletic Conference action on Thursday night.

Connecticut comes in sporting a 20-5 overall record, which includes an 8-4 league ledger. The Huskies have won three straight games, the most recent of which being an 86-81 overtime decision at home against Memphis. UConn is 4-3 in true road games this season, and has won three of its last four on enemy hardwood.

Temple is facing its third consecutive member of the Top-25, and is coming off its biggest win of the campaign as it dropped visiting SMU this past Sunday in a 71-64 final. The victory was only the seventh of the season for the Owls, and just their second in AAC play. In all, the Owls will face five straight ranked foes, with road tilts against Memphis and Louisville coming in the next week. Temple is just 3-8 at home this season.

The all-time series between these two teams stands at 5-3 in favor of UConn, which routed the Owls at home back on Jan. 21, 90-66. Prior to that, the last meeting took place in 1965.

Shabazz Napier drained five 3-pointers on his way to a career-high 34 points in helping the Huskies to a hard-fought overtime triumph over Memphis, earning the season series sweep of the Tigers in the process. Ryan Boatright scored 21 points while handing out six assists, but it was the effort of the two guards (combined 20-of-24) that earned the Huskies a whopping 29-6 edge in points from the foul line. It was a good thing too, as Memphis shot 54.8 percent from the floor, knocking down 7-of-15 3-point attempts along the way, compared to a UConn squad that actually shot better from beyond the arc (.429) than it did the field overall (.393). Another deciding factor was that the Tigers were guilty of 18 turnovers, while the Huskies had only six.

Napier is making a strong case for AAC Player of the Year honors, as he averages 18.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game, all while shooting a blistering 42.1 percent from 3-point range. DeAndre Daniels is also hitting his long-range shot in excess of 40 percent of the time (.458), and he joins Boatright in averaging double digits, with 13.2 and 12.4 ppg, respectively. The Huskies are outscoring their opponents by nearly 12 ppg, while significantly outshooting them from everywhere on the court.

Dalton Pepper continued his maturation as one of the AAC's top guards, as he tallied 24 points in leading Temple to its recent upset win over SMU. Help came from Quenton DeCosey, Will Cummings and Mark Williams, the trio combining for 36 points and 16 rebounds. Cummings was also credited with seven of the team's 15 assists. Collectively, the Owls shot just 39.6 percent from the field, but used a 21-14 edge in points from the foul line coupled with a 38-25 rebounding advantage to saddle the Mustangs with only their sixth loss of the season, fourth in conference.

Temple is the only team in the nation boasting four players that average at least 14 ppg, with Pepper shining brightest with his 17.3 ppg. Cummings is next with 16.2 ppg, while also serving as the club's primary playmaker with 4.4 apg. Anthony Lee is close to averaging a double-double with his 14.0 points and 8.9 caroms per contest, all of which help the Owls score 73.8 ppg. Unfortunately, the team's defensive effort has been woeful, with foes lighting it up for more than 77 ppg, thanks to a 46.7 percent shooting effort, that features a better than 35 percent showing from beyond the arc.

While the win over SMU surely served a morale booster for the Owls, the euphoria is likely to be short-lived at the Huskies are clearly the better team in this matchup. Expect Napier to once again go off, as he faces what is one of the worst defensive squads in the country.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Connecticut 84, Temple 69

02/20 10:19:26 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 3
CLB 4
8:30pm Tonight
CAR
PIT
Final
NYY 5
TOR 2
Final
MIA 1
WAS 2
Final
BAL 2
BOS 3
Final
PIT 1
MIL 0
Final
ATL 2
NYM 10
Final
TAM 5
CWS 10
Final
MIN 2
CLE 7
Final
KAN 5
DET 2
Final
HOU 8
SEA 3
Final
CHC 5
LOS 8
 
8th
ANA 1
TEX 1
 
6th
OAK 6
PHI 6
 
7th
COL 6
ARI 2
 
6th
SDP 2
SFG 0
 
8:05pm Tonight
STL
CIN
Final
CAR 3
CLB 4
2nd
WAS 1
BUF 0
 
6:30pm Tonight
CLB
STL
 
8:00pm Tonight
EDM
CAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
CAL
EDM
 
Final
CLE 21
BAL 23
Final
STL 31
DAL 34
Final
DET 19
GBP 7
Final
NYG 30
HOU 17
Final
JAC 17
IND 44
Final
NOS 20
MIN 9
Final
NEP 16
OAK 9
Final
BUF 10
SDC 22
Final
CIN 33
TEN 7
Final
PHI 37
WAS 34
3rd
ARI 20
SFX 14
 
3rd
SEA 17
DEN 3
 
3rd
MIA 10
KAN 14
 
8:30pm Tonight
CAR
PIT