AMHERST, MA - It was Senior Night at the Mullins Center Wednesday and it was only fitting that a Temple senior would lead the Owls to their 10th straight Atlantic 10 Conference victory. Lavoy Allen posted his fourth straight double-double and ninth of the season, tallying 14 points and a game and season high 18 rebounds to lift Temple to a 73-67 overtime win. The victory clinched the second-seed in the A-10 Tournament for the Owls who improve to 23-6 and 13-2 in league play. UMass drops to 15-13 and 7-8.
The 10 straight A-10 wins is the longest streak by a Temple team since the 1999-2000 team also ran off 10 straight league victories as part of a 27-6 record. It was only the third league game decided by six points or less this season and first since a 71-67 win at La Salle on Feb. 2.
It was the Owls' first overtime game of the season and extended the program's OT win streak to seven straight games. It was also TU's first win at the Mullins Center since 2005, breaking a string of three straight defeats in the arena.
The game could not have been tighter as neither team was able to gain any separation. The contest featured eight ties and 11 lead changes.
UMass honored its seniors prior to the game and it looked like Anthony Gurley, playing in his final regular season home game, was going to win this one all by himself.
The A-10's third leading scorer (18.3 ppg.) scored 17 of his game-high 25 points in the opening half, including a deep three-pointer as time expired to give the Minutemen a 34-30 lead at intermission.
Freshman guard Aaron Brown had his best half as a starter, helping to keep the Owls within striking distance. The Hackensack, NJ native scored all 10 of his points in the first 20 minutes, his most points since joining the starting lineup four games ago, and just his second double-figure scoring game of the season.
Junior guard Juan Fernandez took over for Temple in the second half, scoring 13 of his team-high 19 points in the period. It was his fourth trey of the game with 8:11 left in regulation that gave the Owls their first lead of the period, 54-52.
Senior guard Gary Correia answered back with a trey for the Minutemen and Gurley, who was held in check for most of the second half, added two free throws to make it 57-54.
Allen the cut the lead to one with what would end of being Temple's last basket of the half with 6:07 on the clock and sophomore forward Rahlir Jefferson (9 points), who tied his career high with 10 rebounds, converted two free throws to give the Owls the lead.
Fernandez extended the lead to 60-57 on two free throws only to have Gurley hit another contested trey to knot the game with just under three minutes to play.
Two more Fernandez made free throws were followed by a Correia trey as the lead changed hands on each trip.
Jefferson, the team's worst free throw shooter entering the game (50%), calmly made two more from the charity strip for a 64-63 lead with 1:26 to play. Gurley, however, was not to be denied as he penetrated for a basket as UMass regained the advantage, 65-64.
Fernandez was stripped as he crossed half court on the ensuing possession, but UMass threw the ball away on a three-on-none fastbreak.
Junior guard Ramone Moore, who dished a game-high seven assists, was fouled on a jumper in the lane and made one of two free throws to tie the game. Gurley then missed a layup with Fernandez's final shot of regulation blocked on a drive to the basket to force the extra frame.
The Owls scored the first five points of overtime as sophomore guard T.J. DiLeo started it off with a backdoor layup off a dish from Fernandez. Allen added a layup and Moore converted one of two from the line to make it 70-65 with 30 seconds remaining.
A basket by Javron Farrell (13 points) cut it to one possession, but Jefferson, who made seven-of-eight from the line, made a critical free throw with 19 seconds remaining. Khalif Wyatt (10 points) added two free throws with less than a second on the clock to account for the final score.
The Owls will honor their seniors, Lavoy Allen and Dutch Gaitley, as well as five senior managers - Anthony DiLoreto,
Megan Kita, Tyler Laurie, Sean Phelan and Jessica Gray, on Saturday prior to the La Salle game (3:00 p.m./OwlAccess). It is Temple's final home game at the Liacouras Center of the season.