By Julie Glass
Quinton Rose scored 22 points, Ernest Aflakpui made the decisive defensive play and Temple handed visiting No. 17 Houston its first loss of the season, 73-69.
Corey Davis Jr. was called for a charge in the final second of play after Aflakpui stepped in front of him, wiping out a tying basket for the Cougars (15-1, 2-1 American Athletic Conference). That left No. 2 Michigan and No. 4 Virginia as the only Division I teams without a loss.
“In practices it’s frustrating because he’s always taking charges on us,” Rose (above) said. “But in a game, he saved us. I love him.”
Breaon Brady had 19 points to lead the Cougars, who started 15-0 for the first time since the 1967-68 team won its first 31 games. Houston’s 15-game winning streak was the school’s longest since the 1982-83 season.
“I think the jury’s still out what kind of team we are,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. “I’m anxious to see how we handle this. It’ll help us the next time we lose a game.”
Shizz Alston Jr. had 12 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Owls (12-3, 2-1), who have won five of six. Nate Pierre-Louis added 16 points to help Temple beat a Top 25 team for the 12th straight season.
Armoni Brooks, Houston’s second-leading scorer, was held to five points on 2-for-12 shooting.
“We were going to lose one eventually,” Sampson said. “There’s never a good loss, but losing at Temple is not the end of the season for us.”
After J.P. Moorman II hit a 3-pointer to put Temple up nine with 7:28 remaining, the Owls went without a field goal for more than six minutes as Houston trimmed the lead to 67-66 behind eight straight points from Brady. A pair of free throws from Pierre-Louis followed by a turnover and Rose’s slam put the Owls up 71-66 and got the Liacouras Center crowd on its feet.
Davis answered with a 3 with 37.3 seconds left. But after a Temple shot clock violation, Aflkapui took the charge to help the Owls hang on.
“He’s the best charge-taker as a big guy that I’ve ever seen,” longtime Temple coach Fran Dunphy said.
Officials conferred and upheld the call before Temple sealed the victory with two free throws — and a small group of students not home for winter break rushed the court in celebration.