CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Obi Enechioniya had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead Temple past Auburn and into the finals of the Charleston Classic with an 88-74 victory Friday.
The Owls (2-0) reached the championship game of this eight-team event for the second time. And they may get a rematch with Clemson, which defeated them here in 2008. Clemson faces Hofstra later in the other half of the winner's bracket.
Auburn will play the Hofstra-Clemson loser Sunday — the tournament takes a college football break Saturday — for third place.
Temple trailed the Tigers (2-1) on Jared Harper's basket with 10:17 to go. The Shizz Alston Jr. hit a 3-pointer to put the Owls back in front and Enchioniya gave them the lead for good with a pair of foul shots moments later. Auburn made one last charge when Mustapha Heron's 3 pulled the Tigers to 70-67. But Quinton Rose followed with a 3-pointer and Auburn never caught up.
Rose finished with 19 points off five 3-pointers. Alston had 18 points, 11 in the second half, for Temple.
Anfernee McLemore led Auburn with 19 points, but he also picked up a technical in his second straight game. His foul against Temple came from holding onto the rim for too long after a dunk and allowed Temple to quickly move back in front on Alston's two foul shots when McLemore had tied things at 48-all.
It was Enechioniya's first double-double of the season and fourth of his career.
Auburn: When the Tigers show up cold from the outside, it could be a long game. Auburn hit just 3 of 18 3-pointers in the opening half and the Tigers were generally off target throughout the first 20 minutes. Mustapha Heron was 1 of 9 including 0 of 4 from behind the arc. DeSean Murray and Bryce Brown were each 1 of 7. The numbers improved some in the second half (5 of 15 from three), but Tigers will have to find a better balance if they hope to compete in the Southeastern Conference.
Temple: The Owls were continually caught flat-footed by Auburn's guards, who found ways to get to the basket early — even if the Tigers could not find the basket. Temple picked up its defense in the second half to pull away from the Tigers.
Auburn will play the Clemson-Hofstra loser on Sunday for third place.
Temple will face either Clemson or Hofstra for the tournament championship Sunday night.