Marcus Evans scored nine of his 21 points in the final four minutes to help VCU beat Temple 57-51 on Monday night in the opening round of the Legends Classic at the Barclays Center.
VCU, which squandered a 17-point first-half lead before rallying down the stretch, will play St. John’s in the championship game Tuesday.
Ernest Aflakpui made 1 of 2 free throws to give Temple (4-1) its biggest lead of the game at 48-44 with five minutes to go. VCU, however, scored 13 of the final 17 points — including nine by Evans — as the Owls went 1 for 10 from the field and 2 for 6 from the free-throw line over the final 6½ minutes.
Nate Pierre-Louis had 11 points, eight rebounds and a career-high six steals for Temple. Quinton Rose had eight points on 4-of-15 shooting and Shizz Alston Jr. made 2 of 14 from the field and finished with six points. That duo came in averaging a combined 40.5 points per game.
VCU scored the first 11 points and led 21-4 midway through the first half. Temple missed 12 of its first 14 field-goal attempts, including all five 3-point shots, and committed four turnovers in the first 9½ minutes.
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