PHILADELPHIA, PA- Big 5 matches almost always guarantee a big game. This Temple vs. La Salle matchup did not fall anything short of a class Big 5 matchup. The Explorers battled back all the way into overtime. It started off seeming like it would be a run away for Temple after they went on a 9-0 run to put them up early in the game, but the Explorers quickly closed that gap. It was a tug-of-war battle from then on out. The largest lead of the game never extended ten points.
There was a lot of uncertainty in the under class men heading into this game, given that big minutes from them was guaranteed with the absence of senior, Josh Brown, due to his Achilles tendon injury. Shizz Alston started the night running the offense, with Alani Moore occasionally alternating. Shizz Alston not only scored 14 points, and had 6 assist, but also had no turnovers. “As a point guard, that’s a dream. I just learned from Josh Brown, last year he didn’t turn the ball over,” says Shizz Alston. Freshmen, Alani Moore and Quinton Rose put in some big minutes, and showed a lot of promise for the upcoming season. More than a lot of promise, the pair gave outstanding debuts, and both started in overtime. Coach Dunphy proclaims that, “…they are seemingly ready, and played well.” Quinton Rose ended the night with 12 points and 3 rebounds, shooting 65% from the field and 50% from behind the arc. Alani Moore showed poise, despite only contributing 8 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist.
THE OBI EFFECT:
Coming into the season, there was a lot of high expectations for junior forward, Obi Enechionyia. He did not disappoint. Last season he averaged 11 ppg, and the big man racked up 11 points before the first half was over. Obi is no longer a sleeper from the three, last season he established himself as a three-point threat. Obi may not be a sleeper on the books, but he is silent when racking up significant digits. He was the second leading scorer for the Owl’s offense with 20 points, 14 rebounds, while adding 4 blocks to his stat sheet.
Obi was not the only who was able to put the ball in the basket for Temple. Six of the seven players that saw the floor for the Owls scored in double figures. Coach Dunphy says, “overall we ran some very good offense tonight.” The only player not to reach double digits was Alani Moore, he scored eight points. As the game progressed Temple gained the hot hand, and La Salle was not able to keep up. The Owls field goal percentage grew throughout the entire game series from 47.2% in the first to 48.1% in the second to 66.7% in overtime. While La Salle had the opposite transition, going from 44% to 41% to as low as 37.5%.
While Temple was far more efficient from the field, they struggled from the charity strip. Almost costing them the game in the last delicate seconds of regulation. The Owls shot 64.5% from the free throw line. La Salle took advantage of their foul shots, shooting 85.2% from the free throw line. Keeping them in a tight matchup.
Foul shots are always a crucial part to any game, so are rebounds. Temple out-rebounded La Salle 47-35. Obi Enechionyia and Ernest Aflakpui accounted for over half of the team’s rebounds. Both picked up double-doubles. Ernest Aflakpui earned his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Several players set new ceilings for the rest of the season.
Ernest Aflakpui got his first double-double as well as a new career high in points with 12 points. Dan Dingle also surpassed his career high of 15 points, and racked up a total of 21 points while leading the Owl’s offense. Shizz Alston’s 14 points was enough to earn him a new personal best as well. Obi Enechionyia grabbed a solid 14 rebounds, with a new personal rebound record.
CATCH THE OWLS NEXT:
The Owls are back in action Monday November 14th, at the Liacouras Center where they will take on New Hampshire at 7 pm.