The Finishing Five

Fran Dunphy is relying on freshman Quenton DeCosey

Temple men's basketball coach Fran Dunphy always talks about his best lineup finishing the game. So it was interesting that in the Owls' most important moment of the year — trying to finish off a win against No. 3 Syracuse at Madison Square Garden on Saturday — that freshman Quenton DeCosey was on the floor.

Temple men's basketball coach Fran Dunphy always talks about his best lineup finishing the game.

So it was interesting that in the Owls' most important moment of the year — trying to finish off a win against No. 3 Syracuse at Madison Square Garden on Saturday — that freshman Quenton DeCosey was on the floor.

DeCosey played a career-high 22 minutes, scoring six points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out two assists without a turnover against the Orange. DeCosey's extended time came in a game where Will Cummings played 15 minutes, T.J. Dileo added 10 and Dalton Pepper did not see the floor.

"(DeCosey) is really going to be a good player and it's up to us to get him more minutes," said Dunphy. "He's done some really good things."

DeCosey finished the game with seniors Khalif Wyatt, Scootie Randall and Rahlie Hollis-Jefferson and sophomore Anthony Lee.

The freshman hit two big shots for the Owls to help give them the lead in the second half and found himself at the line twice in the closing minutes.

On the first occasion, he missed both free throws. The second time, with Temple clinging to a three-point lead and just eight seconds on the clock, DeCosey — who admitted some nervousness — hit the second of two free throws to clinch the upset win.

"Q grabbed some big rebounds, made a big free throw and also made a big three," said Wyatt. "Without his (and center Anthony Lee's) contribution, we don't come out of here with a win."

Randall went up to DeCosey before the final foul shots and gave him a vote of confidence.

"Me giving him that ball to make one-out-of-two, that was a big confidence booster for him," said Randall. "He stepped up and made it. He's becoming a great player."

DeCosey's best game of the season came against then-No. 2 Duke in early December when he led the Owls with 13 points. He said it isn't a coincidence that he has risen to the occasion.

"When the brightest lights are on, I play my best games," said DeCosey. "I think I play to the level of the competition, being aggressive."

A North Jersey native, DeCosey said he always dreamed about playing in Madison Square Garden.

"It meant a lot, I always wanted to play here as a kid," said DeCosey. "The legends come in and out of here, so it meant a lot to play here and get a win."

DeCosey has shown he is going to be part of many more big Temple games in other top venues. The Owls will play at Allen Fieldhouse in Kansas in a few weeks and if he keeps progressing will have another chance to show he can step up against a marquee team.

"I feel like I still have some ways to go, I'm getting there," said DeCosey. "Coach had confidence in me to do what I do, and I'm showing they can have confidence in me."

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