College Basketball

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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
STJ 68
DUKE 77
Final
NCSU 78
ND 81
Final
CHI 84
MIA 96
Final
CLE 108
OKC 98
Final
NOP 109
DAL 106
Final
ORL 99
IND 106
Final
PHO 100
LAC 120
Final
ATL 112
MIN 100
4th
TOR 113
DET 110
 
Final
SAN 101
MIL 95
 
Half
GSW 56
BOS 49
 
3rd
DEN 59
WAS 59
 
9:30pm Tonight
LAL
HOU
Final
UCONN 66
SFLA 53
Final
GT 62
BC 64
Final
VT 47
UVA 50
Final
OSU 82
IND 70
Final
UCF 46
CIN 56
Final
WICHS 74
DRAK 40
Final
STJ 68
DUKE 77
Final
MAR 73
FAIR 67
 
Final
HART 61
MAINE 70
 
Final
MAN 71
MON 64
 
Final
PRIN 96
ROWAN 48
 
Final
SIENA 55
PETE 69
 
Final
RIU 53
BONA 48
Final
BING 54
USB 61
 
Final
MLOWELL 50
VERM 61
 
Final
BUT 77
SHU 57
Final
SALA 55
YALE 72
 
Final
PITT 68
LOU 80
Final
ILLST 53
NIOWA 54
Final
GTDNS 69
UMBC 55
 
Final
IONA 87
NIAG 64
 
Final
TENST 55
BEL 63
 
Final
NCSU 78
ND 81
Final
VILL 71
CREI 50
 
2nd
MD 50
NW 57
 
Half
UTAH 37
WASH 30
 
Final
TEAMFOLI 12
TEAMTOEWS 17
2nd
CARTER 13
IRVIN 19