By: Carl Tienabeso
After coming off of a close win against Southern Methodist University, the Uconn Huskies were looking to steal an AAC conference win on the road in Philadelphia against the Temple Owls. UConn’s basketball program again is in hot water with the NCAA, as they’ve been issued an inquiry into the men’s program over a suspicion of recruiting violations. Going into this game, they looked for the leadership of their star player, Jalen Adams, who leads the team in both points and assists.
Following a brutal loss at the hands of conference foes Cincinnati by 23, the owls looked to start their homestand with a must
needed conference win Monday night
The Owls started the game off hot with a 7-0 run that forced UConn to use an early timeout.
After the owls found themselves up 11-4 early in the half, the Huskies chipped away the margin with a pair of threes to take the lead 18-14.
A key steal from Nate Pierre Louis added a needed spark midway through the first half extending temples lead to 7 with a layup followed by a rim-rocking slam on the other end.
The owls continued to put their foot on the gas and never looked back extending their lead to a 14 point halftime margin.
The second half saw more of the same action. Uconn came out flat to start the half as their shots would not fall. The Owls were led by the strong play of their junior guard, Shizz Alston. He finished the night with 18 points and dished out 4 assists with his most important stat showing zero turnovers.
The energy on both ends of the floor for the Owls was tough for Uconn to matchup with. Temple suffocated the Huskies with a great defensive showing forcing them to give the ball away 16 times with 9 of those coming off of steals.
Temple keyed in on their star player Jalen Adams using both size and quickness in forcing him into a rough first half that saw him turn the ball over 4 times. The team defense was strong throughout as Uconn poor shooting from the field at 39 percent and from 3 to 29 percent prevented them from ever making the contest competitive.
Junior Ernest Aflakpui was tough to stop in the paint adding 13 points and Senior Obi Enechionyia reeled in 8 offensive rebounds to go with his career high in assists.
When asked about the impending NCAA investigation into their program and whether it played a part in their loss, Coach Kevin Ollie maintained his stance on the matter, “ I don’t feel it played a part in the way we played, we were just sloppy with the ball and our shots aren’t falling all night. All the credit goes to temple, their a good basketball team. We are cooperating with the NCAA fully and assisting them with everything they need.”
After the game, Coach Fran Dunphy explained how his team’s aggressive mindset tonight was important in securing their must needed win. “It was two different games. Wednesday we did not play well on either side of the ball and today we made shots and took care of the ball with only 5 turnovers as a team. Shizz made tough shots for us and Nate gave us good energy.
As a team, they played well defensively and performed well-keeping Adams in front of them and limiting his abilities.“
Temple defeated the Uconn Huskies 85 to 57 for the largest margin of victory this season. The Owls improved their record to 11-10 on the season and 3-6 in conference play. Their next matchups see them taking on nationally ranked Wichita State Shockers in another American Athletic Conference matchup on Thursday.