Obi Enechionyia declared for the NBA draft Wednesday, but did not hire an agent.
This gives Obi the opportunity to test the waters in the draft, and see what his stock is for this year’s draft. He has up until 10 days after the combine in mid-May to withdraw his name from the draft. If he doesn’t withdraw his name at this point, he will no longer be eligible to come back to Temple for his senior season. Also, if Obi does hire an agent, he loses eligibility for his senior season, no matter if he withdraws his name.
Obi averaged 13.1 points per game, five rebounds, and 1.5 blocks last season. All three were the highest averages of his career. He drew a lot of attention early in the season, as he averaged over 20 points per game in the first two weeks. And I think we all remember that St. Joe’s game when he took over and put up 26 points and shot 50% from the three point line. He scored 20 points just once throughout the rest of the season in the AAC tournament a couple weeks ago against ECU.
He has a just about a month and a half to decide as to whether he will return to North Broad for his senior season and help the Owls attempt to get back to the NCAA tournament. It will be interesting to see how he measures up as a big man that can get out and shoot in a guard-heavy draft.
As the 2016-2017 season is coming to a close, the team is getting ready to send off their seniors. Here’s a look at who the Owls will be without in the following season.
Dan Dingle has been the leader on and off the court this season. After inheriting the most experienced position due to the injury of Josh Brown. The fifth year senior from the Bronx took on the added responsibility with humbleness an
d determination. His consistency throughout the season has been the backbone for this team, and he has been able to guide this young team through an up and down season. Dingle is mentioned in almost every category in the conference for statistic leaders this season. He sits in the AAC Top 20 for scoring (12.5 ppg), assists (3.5 pg), 3-pointers made (53), and assist to turnover ratio (2.5:1). He is number 7 in the conference for 3 pt. % at 38.4 percent and number 5 for minutes played at 35.6 minutes played per game. Throughout his time at Temple, Dingle has accumulated 730 points, 354 rebounds, 214 assists, 58 steals, and 53 blocks. All that, despite medically redshirting his second year at Temple due to a torn meniscus. The senior captain has started every game this season, and has played a total of 93 games in the Cherry and the White. Dingle will go on to receive his Master’s Degree this May.
Mark Williams has embraced the vocal leader position on the team with joy. Despite not being “that guy” in crucial minutes of the game on the floor, the senior has been able to lead moral and offer quality advise to this young team. Williams is from the great “Land” (Cleveland, Ohio) like Lebron James himself. In William’s fourth start of the season against the Tulane Green Wave, the senior shined. He led the team the majority of the game and into the first OT, until fouling out.
He ended his last game in the Liacouras Center with 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. Williams has tallied 535 points, 339 rebounds, and 108 assists for the Temple Owls over his career.
Mike Robbins definitely received the warmest welcome on Senior Day. The redshirt reserve from Lower Merion has one of the most interesting journeys among this senior class. He started off at St. John’s University, not playing basketball, and then transferred to a community college in Philadelphia after his first semester. It wasn’t until the 2014-2015 season that he made his way to Broad Street to earn a walk on spot on the team. He recorded 11 minutes in his first season, and partly due to a concussion, he recorded only 7 minutes last season. In his final season at Temple, one which he was awarded a scholarship, Robbins played in 15 games for a total of 117 minutes.
Throughout the offseason and well into the extent of this 2016-2017 season, Josh Brown has been a question mark on the Owl’s roster. After suffering an Achilles Tendon injury in the off season, the fourth year point guard has been itchin
g to get back on the court. After making a season debut on the road against St. Joe’s and playing in 4 games after his comeback, the indications of Brown trying to redshirt were be
ginning to fade away. That is until he did not suit up for Conference opener against Cincinnati…or any game after that. After leading the AAC in minutes played for the majority of the 2015-2016 season, Brown has only recorded 107 minutes on the season and 0 minutes in the AAC. With the season coming to a close, and Brown not being recognized on Senior Day, indications of him sticking around for a fifth year are plausible.
“I’m happy for them individually, for their families, and for the rest of the team too, that we were able to get a win,” said Fran Dunphy after a back and forth battle to the end against Tulane. Dunphy was able to commend his seniors on their hard work throughout the years, as well as their hard work in their last game at the Liacouras Center.
Temple may have won by double digits, but this game went down to the wire…twice. The Owls led the 50-minute contest for 42:31, but in the final minutes of regulation found themselves trailing the Green Wave. After Shizz Alston Jr. knocked in the offensive rebound to put the game into OT, the Owls were able to contain Tulane enough to grind out an 86-76 win in the second overtime.
Thank You Seniors:
For Dan Dingle, Mark Williams, and Mike Robbins, this was their last chance to ball out on Broad Street. Each of the seniors had considerably large games, and were all able to have a meaningful impact on the game. Mike Robbins, the walk on reserve, had a career high in minutes played with 22 minutes. He dropped 7 points (3-4 FG%) and grabbed 4 rebounds. Dan Dingle had a standard game, he contributed 13 points and had 8 rebounds. Dingle also played all of 3 minutes in the extended game. Mark Williams is the senior that shined. In his first start of the season, Williams went out firing. He led the Owls on the offensive for the majority of the game before fouling out in the second OT. He notched 20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks.
Shizz Still Sizzlin’:
It may have been senior day, but Shizz Alston still led all players on the court. The sophomore guard tapped in the put back that sent the game into its initial overtime. Alston recorded 25 points on the night, but he picked up 13 of those points in overtime alone. He also had 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 5 assists and no turnovers.
Too Close for Comfort:
Temple fans are getting too familiar with these close games. In Temple’s last 3 matchups they have all been decided by the final seconds of the game. Temple has had 12 games decided by 6 or less points, in addition to their 10-point victory over Tulane in double overtime. Both teams shot the ball exactly 76 times, but Temple was 40.8% from the field (31-76) while Tulane was only 30.3% (23-76). The Green Wave did have several chances to secure a win, especially from the free throw line. They went to the line 33 times, and 29 times in regulation alone. Temple went to the line only 20 times in the entirety of the game, making it to the line only 8 times in regulation.
Catch Them Next:
With an 86-76 victory, the Owls are now 6-11 in the AAC, and 15-15 overall. They are looking to continue this momentum into their last game against USF on Sunday March 5th at 2:00 pm.
The UConn Huskies have been hot for 96 straight games for a reason. They are efficient while being able to intimidate their opponents, when home and away. “Playing against UConn…they show you every night why they are great,” says Coach Cardoza. While most teams do not have the privilege to play the top team in the country, the Owls have been granted that luxury and burden to go against one of the most dominant dynasties in all of sports. Cardoza explains how, “…it is an incentive, we get to play on national television more than we’ve ever had, so that’s an incentive. People get to watch us on TV, and enjoy our style of play, so I love that my team gets to play against them…”
First Impressions Are Important:
To a lot of people, the game was over after the first half. Temple shot 23.5% from the field in the second quarter and 15.8% in the first, for a first half combination of 19.65%. The Huskies on the other hand shot 71.4% and 83.3% in the opening quarters of t
he game. Temple only had 8 made shots in the entire first half, including foul shots. UConn had 10 in the first quarter, not including their 5-6 from the free throw line. The Huskies were able to lock down on Temple’s leading scorer Feyonda Fitzgerald, whom averages 17 ppg, she was held to just 7 points (3-16 FG, 1-6 3PA).
Greatness Doesn’t Quit:
Despite struggling from all over in the first half, Temple came out fired up to start the second. Their shooting improved to 64.7% from the field, while UConn’s dropped to below 50%. The Owls won the third quarter 29-22, and responded with a combined 51 point second half to UConn’s 45 point second half. Head Coach of the UConn Huskies, Geno Auriemma, acknowledged their tenacity and said, “…it would have been easy to come out, down 30 at half time and lose by 6
5. They didn’t stop competing. They didn’t stop playing. They didn’t stop attacking us at both ends of the floor, and those kids play with a certain competitive spirit.”
Geno and Cardoza:
Cardoza and Coach Auriemma are by no means strangers. Cardoza coached under Auriemma for 14 seasons at the University of Connecticut, and helped lead the Huskies to five national titles. Auriemma praises Cardoza for her ability to win in a competitive city. He says, “When you look at their team, and you look at the way they play, and how hard they compete, and she’s won an awful lot of games here, and I think a big statement about Tonya [Cardoza] is the way their team played in the second half…and I think that’s a direct reflection on Tonya and her coaching staff.”
Catch Them Next:
The Owls are headed down South to take on The Tulane Green Wave on February 5th, tip-off is set for 2pm. The Owls are now 6-2 in the AAC, ranking no.3 under USF and UConn. They are looking to increase their 16-5 record to 17-5 overall this Sunday.
After being picked to finish 6th in the conference in the 2015-2016 season, and then coming out as regular season champions, optimism is not far-fetched for Temple fans. However, Temple’s 2016-2017 start is not looking so optimistic. Temple is in a rut, and does not seem to know how to get out. They started conference play 0-3, and have lost five of their last 6 games.
DOWN TO THE WIRE:
Temple and Tulsa battled back and forth all game. Both teams held their share of the lead throughout the game, with no lead exceeding 8 points. In the last 4 minutes of the game, it was a deadlock at 68. Temple found themselves with the ball with 43 seconds left. After a timeout, they could not produce any offense out of their possession, giving Tulsa the ball with 14 seconds remaining. Fourteen seconds was all Tulsa needed for Sterling Taplin to drive the lane and lay it up
for 2. With just over 3 seconds left for the Owls to combat, Shizz Alston let off a long shot, a little prematurely, and it was no good. Another close battle for the Owls that they were not able to come out victorious.
Whizz Kid, Shizz Kid:
Although only 3 Temple players were able to score in double figures, Shizz Alsto
n was on a roll leading the way for all scorers. The sophomore point guard went 10-20 and 5-13 from the 3 to put together a new career high of 25 points. Obi Enechionyia followed with 15 points, and Dan Dingle contributing 14. Although Tempe shot the ball fairly decent, 44.6% from the field and 32.1% from behind the arc, Tulsa just shot better. The Hurricanes went 52.2% from the field, making up for going just 6-20 from the 3.
Free Throws Win Games:
The charity stripe is a place Temple has struggled from all season. Not only are they not very efficient from the line, but they struggle to even get there sometimes. The Owls went 69% from the foul line, and the Tulsa only shot 76%. However, Tulsa shot 21 free throws, and Temple only shot 13. With Temple shooting just
under 70% from the line in this matchup, going to the line another 8 times could have sealed a close victory.
CATCH THEM NEXT:
The Owls are back in action Wednesday January 18th, where they will take on the Cincinnati Bearcats once again at 7pm. Temple is hoping to increases to 2-5 in the AAC and 11-9 overall
After starting off conference play completely defeated (0-3), the Owls were itching for a win against ECU. After several games this season resulting in a Russian roulette style of which Owl would step up offensively, Temple was able to have five players score in double figures. The pirates did not have any players reach that margin. Dan Dingle led all scorers with 19 points, just under his career high. In addition to six assists and 3 steals. Quinton Rose followed with 14 points. Mark Williams and Ernest Aflakpui put up 13 points, and Aflakpui grabbed his third double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Obi Enechionyia rounded them out with 12 points.
Huge credit to the Owls offensive success goes to their field goal percentage of just over 53%. Temple went 65.4% from the field in the second half, which is their best single half performance so far this year. What really put the game away was the Owls crashing the boards. They outrebounded the Pirates 39-28, handedly outrebounding opponents is something the Owls have struggled with all year.
Despite ECU keeping it close in the first half, and within striking distance at the beginning of the second, Temple shot the lights out in the second half. Therefore, a come back victory on the road was not in the cards for the Pirates. Temple earned their first AAC victory 81-62. Temple is now 1-3 in the AAC and 10-7 overall.
CATCH THEM NEXT:
The Owls are back in action January 11th where they will be making the trip up to Connecticut to take on (5-9, 0-3) UConn Huskies at 9pm.
After Temple swept the Bearcats last season in upset fashion, Cincinnati was on the hunt get a win on Broad Street. Temple has been on a roll, upsetting 2 of the 3 top 25 teams they’ve faced. Of those three the team they fell to, a no.1 Villanova. Therefore, the Owls were looking to upset their third top 25 team, taking down 3 top 25s for back-back seasons. Not to mention this was the matchup to kick off AAC play for the Owls. Temple is picked to finish sixth in the American, same as last season; going against the Bearcats, project
ed to finish first. This would be Temple’s chance to prove that they are relevant in a competitive American Conference yet again, after winning the regular season title last year.
Both of these teams pride themselves on stellar defense as well as doing a fairly decent job protecting the ball on offense. That was not the case on North Broad. Temple averages approximately 11 turnovers a game and Cincinnati averages 10, Temple turned the ball over 16 times against the Bearcats. The Bearcats did not do much better, turning the ball over 15
times. Shizz Alston, who is among the top in the conference for his assist to turnover ratio, turned the ball over 3 times to his 3 assists. Obi Enechionyia led all players with 4 turnovers.
Temple leads the league in most three pointers made per game with 9, shooting roughly 40% from behind the arc, they shot less that 20% from deep against Cincy. They were not much better from th
e field at 26.7%. Cincinnati was unable to convert on the offensive end as well. They were 28% from the three and only 33% from the field. The parallels between these two offenses transferred to the free throw line. Temple shot 68% and Cincinnati 65%.
After going 1-11 from the field and scoring just 3 points against Yale, Obi Enechionyia continues to struggle offensively for the Owls. He put up only 7 points against the bearcats going 3-10 from the field and 0-5 from the three. Fortunately for the Owls Dan Dingle was able to keep them in the heart of the game offensively. Dingle led all Owls with 15 points, but his back-back turnovers in the final minute of the game was enough
to seal the deal for the Owls. Both teams were not able to get into a groove, and ultimately the bearcats clawed their way to a victory. Cincinnati defeats Temple 56-50.
CATCH THEM NEXT:
The Owl are headed down to Florida to take on UCF on New Years Eve at 4 pm. They will be looking to earn their 10th win of the season, they are currently 9-5 and 0-1 in the AAC.
This game was close from tip off to the final buzzer. This has been Temple’s eighth matchup settled by 6 or less points. The Owls are 4-4 in those close contests. Both teams hovered around the clock with narrow leads, neither team exceeding a 6-point lead.
TEAM WORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK:
The wealth was evenly distributed for the Owls. Obi Enechionyia led all Temple scorers with 13 points, going 5-11 from the field. He also grabbed 8 rebounds and had 1 block. Enechionyia is coming out of rut, in Temple’s matchup against Villanova, the Owl’s leading scorer was held to a seas
on low of 8 points. That was the first game all season he was not able to score in double figures. Dan Dingle and Shizz Alston were also able to score in double digits. Shizz Alston continues to add to his exceptional assist/turnover ratio, which ranks 7th in the nation. He had 4 assists and 0 turnovers against NJIT. All 8 Owls that suited up were able to knock down at least 1 bucket. The team shot 41.8% from the field and 38.9% from 3. They also shot 83% from the free throw line, shot a total of 18 foul shots. They shot 6 foul shots against Nova, and only made 3.
NO “I” IN LYNN:
The Owls could not seem to stop Damon Lynn. He went 7-15 from the 3, and came dangerously close to surpassing most 3s made in one game at the Liacouras Center. Lynn led all scorers with 25 points, and added 3 rebounds, and 4 assists to his stat sheet. Tim Jenkins and Chris Coleman also had double figures, but the rest of NJIT’s roster had a combined 15 points. Because NJIT’s scoring was so concentrated, the Owls were able to dominate in transition. They outscored the Highlanders 13-0 in transition points.
CATCH THEM NEXT:
Temple is now 8-4, and will take on Yale at the Liacouras Center Thursday December 22nd, at 7 p.m. That will be the Owls last non-conference matchup before they kick of AAC action against Cincinnati.