After waiting an extra week to kick off their basketball season, the Owls did not seem out of stride one bit. They started strong from the beginning, and their hot start was able to hold them over during a bit of momentum spur from ODU in the final leg of the game.
Shizz Alston Jr. ended the 2016-2017 season as the leading scorer for the Owls, and after their first matchup he is making a campaign to be the leading scorer for Temple’s 2017-2018 as well. Alston dropped 23 points, going 7-13 from the field and 5-8 from behind the arc. He also grabbed 6 rebounds, but the guard was only able to contribute 2 assists and had a turnover on top of that.
The Owls saw strong performances from Obi Enechionyia and Quinton Rose as well. Enechionyia added 15 points, 6 rebounds, and a block. Rose, the promising sophomore guard, went 50% from the field dropping 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals.
Despite strong performances from Alston, Enechionyia and Rose, no other Owls scored in double digits. Last season the Owls had 4 guys averaging 10 or more points. Aside from Josh Brown’s 7 points, Brown only going 1-6 from the field as well, four Owls combined for a total of 11 points.
Temple at times was able to put the Monarchs away. They led as much as 19 points, but the Owls allowed ODU to go on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 1 point right around the 9 minute mark. Temple does have key veterans in their return such as Enechionyia and Alston. The rest of the team is still playing catch up on the experience level. As promising as Rose and Alani Moore II have proven to be, especially given their minutes played in their freshmen seasons, they are still only sophomores. Brown’s return as a fifth year senior is beneficial for the team, but Brown has not played for approximately one year. It showed on the floor. Although Brown picked up 5 rebounds, he only contributed 7 points and his assist to turnover ratio was 3:2. It might take him a few games into the season to iron out some of those kinks.
The Owls were able to close out on the Monarchs 76-65 in their first game of the year, and will advance to the second round of the Charleston classic. They will be taking on Auburn at 11 am on ESPN 2 on November 17.