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Alston leads Temple past UConn to keep tourney hopes alive.

STORRS — Shizz Alston scored a career-high 34 points to lead Temple past UConn 78-71 on Thursday to keep the Owls hopes alive for an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Alston hit 12 of his 14 shots from the floor and was 4 of 5 from behind the arc for the Owls (22-8, 12-5 American).

Quinton Rose added 20 points for Temple, which secured a bye in the first-round of next week’s conference tournament.

Christian Vital had 26 points for the Huskies (14-16, 5-12), who lost for the first time this season at Gampel Pavilion. Josh Carlton added 21 points in a losing effort.

UConn trailed by as many as 10-points in the first half, but came back, taking a lead five minutes into the second half, on a long 3-pointer from Tyler Polley.

Carlton brought the crowd to its feet with a spin move to lose his man on the baseline and a dunk, part of a spurt that extended the Huskies lead to five points at 50-45.

UConn was up 58-56 when Alterique Gilbert, the Huskies point guard, took an elbow to the nose and had to leave the game.

A steal and dunk from Alston put Temple up 65-60 and the Owls hit their free throws down the stretch to hang on.

BIG PICTURE

Temple: The Owls have won five of their last six to join Houston, Cincinnati and UCF with tournament byes.

UConn: The Huskies finish the regular-season 8-1 at Gampel Pavilion. They are 6-15 on all other courts. UConn will have to win this weekend and take at least two games in the conference tournament to avoid a third straight losing season.

UP NEXT

Temple: The Owls close the regular season at home on Saturday with a showdown against UCF, which came into Thursday 12-4 in the conference.

UConn: UConn wraps up the season at East Carolina on Saturday.

 

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