Temple’s hopes of making the NCAA Tournament are officially coming to an end after an 89-81 loss to Wichita State in the second round of the AAC tournament.
This game came down to the wire. It was the 19th game decided by 10 or fewer points for the Owls. They are now 11-8 in games determined by less than 10. Wichita State held the lead for the entirety of the game, with a lead as large as 10 and short as one. The Owls were able to cut it to 5 with 25 seconds remaining on the clock with a drive from Josh Brown. Inevitably, Temple was never able to gain the lead.
Fouls. Both teams found themselves in foul troubles, but the Owls were struggling from the opening minutes. Obi Enechionyia picked up two quick fouls in the first three minutes of the game, forcing Fran Dunphy to substitute Dre Perry. Perry would go on to foul out as well as JP Moorman. The big men being in foul trouble all night created another obstacle Temple needed to overcome. Temple was outrebounded by the Shocker, again, 35-24.
Wichita State shot 48% from the field and only 9-23 from behind the arc. However, 6 of those 9 threes came from Landry Shamet who went 6-9 from three and dropped 24 points on the Owls. The last time Temple played the Shockers they had a season-high of 16 made threes, including 11 in the first half. This time, Temple made 11 threes for the entire game.
Even though the Owls shot 50% from the field and 45% from the three, they could not stop the Shockers. “They’re [Wichita State] a really good basketball program, they have some veteran guys that made some veteran plays at the right times,” said coach Dunphy. Wichita State head coach, Gregg Marshall said that Temple is, “…hard to guard, thank goodness we made enough shots and plays to win the game.”
A lot of plays were made from the foul line. Temple had 29 team fouls to Wichita’s 18. The Shockers had 28 made free throws, while the Owls only got to the foul line 21 times. The 11 extra fouls Temple gave Wichita State an advantage on the line. Which ultimately resulted in Temple not being able to get on a stop on the Shockers.
Although the Amway Center is a neutral location, the arena felt like a home game for Wichita State. The fans were overwhelming crowded with Shocker fans, and there was hardly any cherry in the sea of black and yellow. However, Temple claims it did not bother but fueled them. “It felt like we were back at Wichita at first,” said Quinton Rose. “We kind of just thrive from that, knowing it’s your guys against everybody else,” said Brown.
While the Owls hopes of making it to the big dance are over, their postseason isn’t necessarily over. They are still a prominent candidate for the NIT Tournament, however, they will have to await their fate on Selection Sunday.
Temple is currently 17-15 overall. This matchup also served as their first neutral site loss this season. They were previously 5-0.