COPPERAS COVE Billy White sent a message to a few of his normal starters Friday night. Just to make a point we had some guys show up late to some things, so we had to change it up, the Copperas Cove head coach said.
Ricardo Artis was one of those who didn't make the starting lineup. But when the Bulldawgs needed him, the senior delivered. Artis didn't score until the final seconds of the third quarter, but his 13 points helped Cove erase a double-digit deficit and hold off Temple 59-54 at home.
I realized I have to keep working my spot's not guaranteed, said Artis, who had six rebounds. With a minute left in the third quarter, a Shaquille White jumper put Temple (11-15, 1-6 District 12-5A) ahead 50-37. The Wildcats were on a 22-8 run, giving everyone in the gym a reason to forget about the back-and-forth first half. The Dawgs (14-12, 2-5) went four one-shot possessions without scoring, with Juwan Rice hitting two free throws to stop the bleeding.
Jonathan Bridges then stole an errant Temple pass and found Artis for a layup with 7.2 seconds left in the quarter. The bucket cut Temple's lead to nine (50-41), and set up Artis' big fourth-quarter performance.
Ricardo did what Ricardo can do, White said. He's huge and the dude can play.
Artis opened the fourth with a 3-pointer, making it a six-point game. After a Stacey Dodd jumper, Artis came back with one. The teams traded turnovers before Artis bookended a Cory Scott layup with two of his own, the second giving Cove a 52-50 lead with 4:24 to play and forcing a Temple timeout.
They needed me to play, Artis said.
The Wildcats turned it over after the break, and though Artis missed on the other end, he came back with a steal and found Scott for a layup and 4-point Dawg lead.
Rice, who led Cove with 17 points, made it 58-54 with a minute to go, and Cove had a chance to stretch it out when Temple's Volney Willis was called for traveling on the other end. After two timeouts, Cove's Robert King went to the line but missed the foul shot.
Temple quickly went down the floor, and after a missed 3-pointer, Andre Schooley went up for the follow. Artis jumped as well, blocking the shot and bringing the Cove fans to their feet.
It always starts off in the third quarter when we go into a drought, Artis said. But the new story of Copperas Cove is we come back and we're going to play hard regardless of who we're playing against.