The business trip is complete as the Temple Owls won their kickoff tournament. The Owls defeated the Clemson Tigers 67-60 in the finals of the Charleston Classic last night. Just like last year, the Owls won their kick off tournament to gain respect around the league come time for conference play. If you recall, the Owls won the NIT Tournament this time last year, but could not do anything with that momentum. The Owls must learn from that, and use this to their advantage going forward.
A big part of this win for the ball club was creating turnovers. The Tigers turned the ball over 18 times that led to many Temple fast breaks in transition. The Owls were led by Shizz Alston Jr. with 14 points including four game-clinching free throws. Alani Moore II was a key contributor to the fast breaks as he got three steals himself and ended up with 12 points on the night. I compare Moore to a younger version of former Maryland guard Melo Trimble. He shows Trimble’s IQ and flow of the game presence that allows the other four players on the court to flourish. In fact, head coach Fran Dunphy had Moore on the floor instead of starting point guard Alston Jr at the end of the game.
Another solid performance from Josh Brown as he hit big three-pointers in the second half to help seal the victory. Josh is a redshirt senior, and he inspires others by his ability on the court to show the young guys what it takes to win close ball games. He was by far tonight’s MVP. This might be one of the best stories in all of college basketball.
"I feel like my last year something really special is going to happen on Broad Street."
The Return of Josh Brown 👇 pic.twitter.com/NVSrMJTBp7
— Temple Men's BBall (@TUMBBHoops) November 15, 2017
A stat that stands out from this game was the difference in three-point percentage. The Owls shot 35% to the Tigers 26% from downtown. Temple is known for shooting the three ball, and that was a key factor in this game and the tournament as a whole. Let’s not forget, head coach Dunphy stated at the beginning of this tournament that the key to winning big games is hitting more threes than your opponent.
They took control of the game during an 18-7 run in the first half going into the second half. Clemson did cut the lead to 60-56 on a Shelton Mitchell layup with 51 seconds left, but it just wasn’t enough. This win against the Tigers is sweet revenge of sorts for the 2008 loss in the title game.
The Owls move to (3-0) in a span of four days, so they should be feeling pretty good about themselves. It is the first time Temple has opened the season with three straight wins on the road. It’s important for Dunphy and the team to start hot as they play their first six games on the road until the game against Wisconsin, December 6th.
What Is Next?
Temple takes on La Salle in a Big five showdown November 30th at the Palestra. Looking forward to seeing these two Philly schools play in one of the most historic venues in all of college hoops.