NEW YORK — When it was over, the question posed to Fran Dunphy was simple:
Was this his team’s best performance so far this season?
His answer, though, could and maybe should concern future opponents.
“”I don’t know that I can say that,” Dunphy said after Temple’s 76-60 rout of South Carolina on Thursday night in the second game of the Under Armour Reunion at Madison Square Garden.
Quinton Rose scored a season-high 24 points to lead Temple, which improved to 4-1 with its fourth win in its last five games. Damion Moore finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Obi Enechionyia added 15 points for the Owls.
“(I’m) proud of our guys,” Dunphy said.
Pride was not the emotion Dunphy’s counterpart, Frank Martin, felt after the 16-point loss.
“We just got thoroughly outplayed,” said Martin, who later added, “Guys have to understand how to play in college,” after South Carolina dropped to 5-2. The game was South Carolina’s first at Madison Square Garden since Sweet 16 and Elite Eight wins over Baylor and Florida, respectively, last March.
“This is good for us,” Martin said. “We’ve got a young team. We’ve got to learn. We’ve got to learn.”
David Beatty led the Gamecocks with 13 points. Maik Kotsar scored 12 and Justin Minaya tallied 11.
Leading 38-27 at the start of the second half, Temple outscored the Gamecocks 16-12 in the first 8:20 to extend its lead 54-39. The Owls started the second half with two Enechionyia dunks and a jumper, a Moore jam and jumper, and eight points from Rose.
“I was going out there trying to be aggressive,” said Rose, who praised Moore’s play. “It makes it a thousand times easier. The guy on defense has to make a decision earlier. If (Moore has) it going (the defender) knows I’m going to dump it off, but he also has to step up and stop me from scoring.”
The lead grew to 60-41 after Moore’s putback and layup on consecutive possessions. Following the layup with 9:39 left, Martin called time out. It did not matter as Temple pushed its lead to 23, 66-43, after Rose’s layup at 6:27.
“We kept missing shots and then turnovers,” Martin said. “We had 17 turnovers (and) 12 of them were steals. You give Temple 12 steals (and) they’re coming at you in the open court. They’re going to make you pay almost every time.
“We struggled to guard the dribble. We guarded the 3-point line. We struggled to guard the dribble and then our bigs did a lot of ball watching. We just didn’t play well.”
South Carolina: The Gamecocks entered the game with their bench having a plus-34 scoring differential over the course of the season. But that number is somewhat misleading. South Carolina’s bench outscored its opponents by a combined plus-35 margin in the first two games of the season, only for it to be minus-one in the next four. Against Temple, South Carolina’s bench was outscored 25-21.
Temple: The Owls’ modus operandi was simple: Get it inside. And oftentimes simple works. To wit: In Temple’s 16-point win, 38 of its 76 points were scored in the paint.
South Carolina: Thursday night’s game was the Gamecocks’ fifth straight on the road, and sixth out of seven away from home overall.
Temple: The Owls improved to 8-7 all-time against South Carolina. The game was the first between the programs since Dec. 22, 2005.
South Carolina: Hosts the University of Massachusetts on Saturday afternoon.
Temple: Travels to George Washington Sunday afternoon.