PHILADELPHIA - Temple men's basketball's annual White Out game is this Sunday, Feb. 19 as the Owls (14-13, 5-9) face UConn (13-12, 8-5) at 4 p.m. (ESPN / 1210 AM WPHT). The UConn contest is the start of a three-game homestand for the Owls, who look improve their place in the American Athletic Conference standings as the season winds down.
Sunday's contest is Temple's annual "White Out" game. The Owls are 4-1 in White Out games since starting the tradition in 2012 against Xavier, and are now playing UConn for the third year in a row in a White Out game.
Temple has had a truly up-and-down conference season, especially as of late with alternating wins and losses in the month of February. Most recently, the Owls held a one-point, 38-37 halftime lead at East Carolina on Feb. 15, but a 19-3 run for the Pirates midway through the second half put the game out of reach for Temple.
The Owls' most recent win completed a regular season sweep of Memphis as they came out ahead by a score of 74-62 on Feb. 12, led by 18 points from freshman Quinton Rose
who was named the American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week for a fourth time this season.
Five different players have led Temple in scoring in the last six games. Sophomore Shizz Alston, Jr.
, who leads the team and ranks 10th in the league with 13.7 ppg, has led or tied for the team lead the most times this season (10 games). Senior Daniel Dingle
tied his career high with 22 points in the Owls' win vs. USF (2/5), hitting a career-best 6-of-7 three-pointers. Dingle has now reached double figures in scoring in 15 of the last 17 games.
UConn went 0-3 to start conference play for the first time since 1984-85, but has since gone 8-2 and ranks fourth in the league standings. The Huskies have won three straight, most recently coming from behind to beat Memphis at home on Feb. 16, 65-62.
The Huskies went 25-11 in 2015-16, but returned just one consistent starter from that squad in senior Rodney Purvis. UConn lost three players to season-ending injuries very early in the season, including two, redshirt sophomore Terry Larrier and freshman Alterique Gilbert, who averaged double figures in scoring in their four and three games played, respectively. Leading UConn is sophomore Jalen Adams with 15.0 points per game and a conference-best 6.7 assists per game, which also ranks in the top 10 nationally.
Temple will see a familiar face on the opposing bench at UConn for the second time this season. Dwayne Killings was an assistant coach under Fran Dunphy
from 2011-16, helping lead the Owls to four postseason appearances in his five years on the bench. From 2006-09, Killings had served as Dunphy's assistant director of basketball operations. Killings left Temple in July to become an assistant coach on Kevin Ollie's UConn staff.
Temple and UConn are meeting for the 16th time, with UConn holding a slim lead of 8-7 in the series after winning two straight. In the first-ever meeting at Gampel Pavilion between the two teams, UConn prevailed earlier this season by a score of 73-59 on Jan. 11.
The Owls had won four straight meetings including both in the regular season in 2015-16 before falling 77-62 in the American Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals on March 12, 2016.