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Temple pulls off come from behind win over No. 25 FSU

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NEW YORK, NY – Little had gone right for the Temple Owls before they gathered around coach Fran Dunphy during a timeout. It would have been easy for them to lament their woes.

Instead, as Shizz Alston Jr. recalled, their message to each other was cloaked in defiance.

"We're on a big stage, we're not going out like this," Alston said after Temple's 89-86 victory over No. 25 Florida State on Thursday in the first game of the NIT Season Tip-Off. "We want to fight back."

Quinton Rose scored 26 points, including two free throws with 2 seconds left. Alston Jr. added 22 points and Obi Enechionyia had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Owls (3-2).

Dwayne Bacon had 22 points for the Seminoles (4-1). Jonathan Issac added 19 points. Xavier Rathan-Mayes had 11, and Terance Mann 10.

"They're so deep," Dunphy said about Florida State. "So athletic. They can make shots, too."

Trailing by 12 with 9:26 left, Temple went on a 15-2 run to take a 73-72 lead. The stretch began when Alston made a 3. That was followed by Rose's putback, Enechionyia's lay-in, two made free throws by Alston, and consecutive 3s from Alston and Damion Moore.

The Owls were able to extend their advantage to 85-80 after Enechionyia's made 3 with 3:18 left. But Trent Forrest's lay-in with 77 seconds cut the deficit to one, 87-86.

"They spread the floor," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said of Temple's offensive approach in the second half. "They were shooting the 3s and they spread the floor, did a great job of taking us off the dribble when they got to the foul line.

"Give them credit: They did what they had to do."

Florida State had a chance to win, but Isaac air-balled a layup attempt with four seconds left. Rose's two free throws sealed the win.

"We started making every shot we took," Dunphy said.

Next up Florida State will meet Illinois in the consolation game on Friday. With the loss the Seminoles will likely drop out of the top 25, but Hamilton isn’t overly concerned with a single loss.

"I think you can come up with a philosophical theory if you want to, but they just had a great night,” said Hamilton. “They did a very good job. I'm sure they're hoping they shoot the ball that well for the remainder of the year. I'm hoping we don't defend as poorly as we did tonight and I don't think we will.”