While the Owls have had some extreme highs and extreme lows throughout the 2016-2017 campaign, the one thing that remains constant is the solid play of point guard Shizz Alston.
For the third consecutive game Alston took control of the Owls’ offense with 20+ points. His effort Wednesday night was good enough for the 77-66 victory against the University of Memphis, which put a stop to Temple’s three game losing skid.
The sophomore from Philadelphia has made great strides in his second year wearing the Cherry and the White. When Alston Jr. was a freshman he posted 63 points the entire season. During Shizz’s recent three-game scoring spree, he has racked up 72. Along with Alston’s improvement as a scorer, he continues to protect the basketball as good as anyone. His 3.1 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks second in the American Athletic Conference.
The first half of Temple’swin saw the Owls and Memphis Tigers trade buckets and go on runs of their own, but only to end up where they started, with a 30-30 tie at the intermission. Temple struggled early on as they turned the ball over 3 out of their first 4 possessions, but they quickly shook off the rust from their week long break thanks to the play of captain Dan Dingle. Dingle knocked down a couple of three-balls to kick-start the scoring and finished the half with 8 points.
As the Owls were about to head into the locker room down by 2 points, freshman Alani Moore intercepted a pass and pulled up from behind the three-point line. Moore missed the shot, but he grabbed the offensive board and threw a pass down low to fellow frosh Quinton Rose as he threw in the contested layup as time expired.
Coming off a little momentum from the stellar play by Rose and Moore, the Owls, particularly Shizz Alston, started knocking down some shots. After an Ernest Aflakpui layup, Shizz Alston channeled his inner Reggie Miller and posted 8 points between the 19:04 and 18:09 marks in the second half. Alston sandwiched a couple of three balls with a steal and a layup in traffic to generate a 10-2 Owls run and create a safe cushion throughout the second half.
Alston totaled another 5 after his individual 8-0 run to finish with 13 in the second half and 22 points and 5 boards in the win, but it was the captains that sealed the deal. Seniors Dan Dingle and Mark Williams (who was celebrating his birthday) scored 15 of the final 20 points for Temple, including a combined 10-11 from the foul line on the evening, to cap off that elusive second conference victory. Temple is 3-1 on the season when Williams and Dingle score double digits. Williams scored a season high 15 points along with 4 boards and 4 assists and Dan Dingle had 16 points and 7 rebounds.
Temple’s second AAC win bumps the Owls in the 8th spot in the standings with their 2-6 record, and their road ahead is no walk in the park. The Owls will spend some time away from North Broad as they travel to Houston to face the Cougars (formally known as Phi Slamma Jamma in the 1980s) on Saturday night at 10 pm and then will stop in New Orleans to take on the Tulance Green Wave to following Tuesday.
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