Damian Dunn scored 16 points and drained the deciding free throw with 1:06 to play as visiting Temple took down No. 1 Houston 56-55 on Sunday afternoon in American Athletic Conference slugfest.
Temple (12-9, 6-2 AAC) led by seven points after a pair of free throws by Nick Jourdain with 6:37 to play. The Cougars knotted the game on a steal and three-point play by J’Wan Roberts with 1:30 remaining, and Dunn followed by making one of two from the charity stripe to grant Temple a one-point advantage.
That would ultimately be the difference. Houston’s Jamal Shead had a 3-pointer go in and out with 37 seconds to play and the Cougars did not foul, opting to play defense. That seemed to work when Dunn missed a contested layup with 8.3 seconds remaining.
Shead then drove to the basket but had his layup blocked out of bounds by Kur Jongkuch with 1.3 seconds left, giving Houston (18-2, 6-1) a final chance to win. Tramon Mark’s layup bounced off the rim and out to allow Temple to beat a team ranked No. 1 in the nation for the first time since Feb. 20, 2000.
Zach Hicks added 12 points and Jahlil White took 10 rebounds for the Owls in the gritty win.
Shead paced Houston with 13 points while Marcus Sasser scored 12 and Jarace Walker added nine points and 12 rebounds.
The Owls were unbowed by playing at the nation’s top-ranked team, using an early 10-2 run to go up 18-12 with just more than 10 minutes to play in the first half.
After the Cougars trimmed their deficit to two points, Temple swung again, rebuilding a six-point advantage at the 5:45 mark following 3-pointers by Hicks and Dunn. Houston responded with a 7-0 run capped by a putback layup by Walker with 3:23 left in the half.
From there, the lead see-sawed until Dunn canned another bucket from beyond the arc with 39 seconds to play to tie the game 30-30 at the break.
Dunn led all scorers in the half with 10 points while Shead’s eight points before halftime paced the Cougars. It was the first time this season that Houston was not in the lead at halftime.
–Field Level Media