By Harry Allison
So, Temple went small and knocked off Memphis in the American Athletic Conference tourney opener, and now the Owls and Fran Dunphy faces Larry Brown-coached SMU in the semis.
Will Cummings and Obi Enechionyia combined for Temple’s nine points in the final minute and the fourth-seeded Owls edged No. 5 seed Memphis 80-75 on Friday in the AAC tournament quarterfinals, giving Owls coach Fran Dunphy his 500th career victory.
After a scramble for the ball under the Temple basket, Cummings, on the floor, got the ball to Enechionyia who scored, was fouled, and hit the free throw for a 74-71 lead with 39 seconds remaining. Memphis’ Trahson Burrell made a free throw and missed a second but Calvin Godfrey missed the putback. Cummings and Enechionyia each added a pair of free throws before Kedren Johnson hit a 3-pointer to get Memphis within 78-75 with seven seconds remaining. Cummings added two more free throws to secure the win.
Cummings, who made 10 of 11 free throws, finished with 21 points. Quenton DeCosey (photo above) added 14 points and Jesse Morgan 13 for the Owls (23-9), who will face No. 1 seed SMU on Saturday.
Burrell scored 16 points for the Tigers (18-14), with Shaq Goodwin adding 15, Johnson 14, Calvin Godfrey 13 and Markel Crawford 12. The Tigers were without Austin Nichols, their leading scorer during the regular season, who missed his third straight game with an ankle injury.
Memphis had six more field goals than Temple, but the Owls made three more 3-pointers and were 22 of 29 from the free-throw line to 8 of 14 for the Tigers.