The Owls first game in the AAC tournament didn’t exactly go as planned. Temple started the game carrying over the momentum they had from defeating UCF a week prior. They opened up with a 6-0 run, but Wichita State quickly clawed their way back. The first half was essentially a seesaw with each team jockeying for position. Even after a Nate Pierre-Louis and-one layup, which sparked a 8-0 Temple run, the Shockers answered.
It was clear the senior leaders for the Owls were not going to let the game slip away early. The combination of Shizz Alston Jr. and Ernest Aflakpui carried the team in the first half scoring 28 of the team’s 37-points. Following Alston’s buzzer-beating 3, he tied Mark Macon for 5th on the most made in Temple history.
While the Owls had contributions from two of their key players, the Shockers got much of the same from Markis McDuffie. The senior forward was on fire scoring 17 of his 34 points in the second half.
McDuffie and Wichita State were able to put the Owls in a hole after going on an 11-0 run midway through the second. Still, Temple fought back down the final stretch of the game cutting the Shockers lead to just 2 with 1:40 left.
However, Wichita State was able to regain control, and close out the game with the a final score of 80-74.
This loss puts a serious dent in the Owls NCAA tournament résumé.
“We are just hoping… now we’re just sitting and watching”, Alston said following the game.
Currently, Joe Lunardi has the team sitting with the First 4 in, but that will likely change in the coming days. Temple will now wait for Sunday to see if they will be selected to be in the tournament.