A last second drive to the lane with six seconds remaining on the clock to give an opportunity for the other team to close out the game would be unsettling for most teams. Way too close for comfort, unless that team was the Temple Owls.
Thursday’s matchup against Wichita State marks the Owls’ 11th game this season determined by five or fewer points. Temple is now 6-5 in those contests. Despite the Shockers having a 17-4 record opposed to the Owls’ 11-10 record coming into this game, this was still a highly anticipated matchup. Especially for Temple. Fran Dunphy and co. were coming off of an interesting pair of games. They were handed their biggest loss of the season just two games prior at the hands of the Cincinnati Bearcats, followed by their largest win of the season over the UConn Huskies. Luckily for the Owls, the team that played Connecticut showed up at the Liacouras Center.
This marks the second time this season that Temple has had five players score in double figures. Quinton Rose led the Owls with 19 points, despite only playing for 25 minutes. Josh Brown showed serious senior leadership. He had 15 points and was 3-4 from behind the arc. He also contributed five rebounds and three steals. Shizz Alston started cold, he finished the night with 12 points even though he was 5-22 from the field and 0-6 from three. However, the junior guard had the most important bucket of regulation, a drive to the lane with less than 10 seconds on the clock to advance the Owls to an overtime contest. Obi Enechionyia and Nate Pierre-Louis both had 11 points. Pierre-Louis also grabbed five
rebounds and had two steals.
Turnovers were a key to a Temple victory. They needed to not turn the ball over. With 10 rebounds, they relatively did what they needed to do. What they did better than not turn the ball over was force Wichita State turnovers. The Shockers had 16 turnovers at the hands of the Temple Owls. The Owls were one steal away at 11 from tying their season-best of most steals in one game.
This marks the 11th straight season that temple has defeated a top 25 team. This should significantly boost the Owls’ resume and their March Madness tournament hopes alive. Their impressive wins over Clemson, Auburn, SMU, and Wichita State are overshadowed by their bad losses to teams like George Washington, La Salle, and a big margin loss to Villanova and Cincinnati.
The Owls are headed to down to New Orleans this Sunday to take on Tulane.