Sophomore guard Jalen Adams scored a game-winning lay-up with 2.9 seconds remaining to push the UConn men’s basketball team past American Athletic Conference rival Temple 64-63 in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon.
With the win, UConn (14-12, 9-5 The American) moved into a tie with Houston, whom the Huskies will visit Wednesday, for third place in the American standings. UConn has won seven of their last eight games, and nine of their last 12.
Adams finished with 13 points, five assists and five rebounds. Senior Rodney Purvis, who entered Sunday averaging 17 points per game in his last five outings, led the Huskies with 18 points on 7-for-14 shooting (4-for-8 from 3-point range), while also recording five assists.
The first half Sunday was characterized by sloppy play, including a host of bad turnovers from UConn. The Huskies did take a 7-5 lead at the first media timeout, which would end up being their last lead until Adams’ game-winner in the closing seconds.
The Owls, who entered Sunday leading the American with 8.9 3-point field goals made per game, were very efficient from behind the arc in the first half. Temple went 5-for-9 from deep over the first 20 minutes, with two makes each from Daniel Dingle and sharpshooter Alani Moore II. Dingle was the game’s only player to go to halftime with double digits in scoring, posting 12 points.
Temple took a 35-29 lead into the halftime break, and after extending it to 40-31, the Huskies answered back with a quick 8-0 run to cut the lead to one. Temple responded with an extended 16-7 run to push their advantage to 56-46 with 8:29 left, which would stand as their largest lead of the night.
Purvis took over to lead UConn back, hitting four of the Huskies’ next five field goals as the Huskies tied the game at 60 apiece with 2:58 left. He buried the game-tying 3-pointer from several feet behind the arc.
Following a 3-pointer from Temple’s Quinton Rose, the Owls led 63-60 with just over a minute remaining before Adams intercepted a pass and raced down the floor for a thunderous dunk attempt. He could not convert but drew a foul, hitting both free throws to cut the lead to one point with 1:05 remaining.
On the other end, Dingle missed the front end of a one-and-one, allowing UConn to secure the rebound and call a timeout with 36 seconds left on the clock.
The Huskies used nearly all of those seconds, after a pair of Temple fouls helped bleed the clock all the way down before Adams knifed into the lane and banked in the game-winning finish with his left hand with just 2.9 seconds remaining. Shizz Alston Jr. missed a desperation heave for the Owls as time expired.
For UConn, Vance Jackson and Kentan Facey finished with eight points apiece, while Christian Vital finished with seven. Temple’s Oni Enechionyia, who went 3-for-17 from the field in a loss to UConn at Gampel Pavilion on Jan. 11, scored two points on 0-for-2 shooting.
Up next, UConn travels to Houston to face the Cougars on Wednesday. Tip-off between UConn and Houston is scheduled for 9 p.m.