The Temple Owls traveled down I-95 to the state capital to take on George Washington in the BB&T Classic Sunday afternoon. The shots did not fall late for the Owls, as they fell to the Colonials 71-67. Temple drops to (4-2) on the season, unable to back up their impressive win at Madison Square Garden against South Carolina.
The 23rd annual BB&T Classic is held every year in Washington DC in the Capital One arena. The event was formed in 1994 by Peter Teeley, former US Ambassador, to help create awareness for children’s health. When the fans attend the game, all the proceeds go to homeless and under-resourced children in the Washington Region. Georgetown and George Washington host this event every college basketball season. It is an honor for Temple Men’s Basketball to be invited to this event and give back to the community whether they win the contest or not.
— Temple Men's BBall (@TUMBBHoops) December 3, 2017
Unlike recent Temple games, the Owls got off to a poor start in the first half. They led for only ninety-five seconds in the first half which of course will put any team in a hole. The three-point shot, which is a key ingredient for this Owls squad, was stuck somewhere in between Philadelphia and Washington on the freeway, as it did not make it to the arena on time. They hit only one three-point basket, which was made by Shizz Aiston Jr, in the first half. They were down 40-25 going into halftime.
Fran Dunphy must have made one heck of a halftime speech, as Temple came out of the gate on an 18-9 run to cut the deficit to 49-43 Colonials with 11:13 minutes left in the second half. The momentum really took a turn in the Owls direction when Obi Enechionyia hit his first three of the game to make it 53-46 Colonials. One of Obi Enechionyia goals this season was to be aggressive in the paint, but with only getting nine points and three rebounds, he clearly is not grasping the concept. In order to hit threes consistently, his inside presence must be respected.
Dunphy made a great coaching decision by going full court press on George Washington. This instantly triggered two turnovers that lead to a 6-0 run by the Owls. Alani Moore hit a three-pointer off a steal by Josh Brown and then Moore got a steal that led to a Quinton Rose three. This happened in a matter of 5 seconds as the Owls were now down 57-56 with eight minutes in the game.
A rising star in college basketball on this Temple team has to be Shizz Alston Jr. He grabbed a tough defensive rebound and ran down the court and hit a three with a defender pretty much in a face to tie it up at 59-59. His presence on the court is something that cannot be taught, he has an instinct that I do not see from anyone else on this team. He ended up with 18 points and went (4-5) from three-point range. Everyone who knows of Temple from a national perspective always brings up Quinton Rose, but they should also include the Owls guard Shizz Alston Jr to that conversation as well.
Of course, the man who will be headed to the NBA Draft in a matter of time proved why NBA scouts are going crazy about him, and that is Temple guard Quinton Rose. George Washington extended the lead to 65-59, but Quinton Rose hit both his free throws along with a dagger three to put the Owls within a point. Dunphy, along with the players, has the trust to give him the ball when they need a bucket. The sophomore out of Rochester, New York, is going to be the driving force behind whether Temple makes the NCAA Tournament.
Temple forced the Colonials into a forced shot with few seconds on the shot clock but Jair Bolden hit a tough three to put George Washington up 69-64 with three minutes left.
From here on out it was all about going to the free throw line. Alani Moore hit both of his to cut it to two points at 69-67 with 0.30 seconds left.
It was incredible how many opportunities that Temple had to tie this game up. The final possession, after a free throw by Jair Bolden of George Washington, had Temple down 70-67. Obi Enechionya, supposedly the chosen one as a Star Wars reference, airballs his three-point attempt. Luckily, Alani Moore came up with a steal and Quinton Rose got a chance to hit a tying three-point shot but it failed to go in the hoop.
This was a huge loss for the Owls as they could have improved to (5-1) heading into three of their next four games at home. The moral of the story was going 36% from three compared to George Washington at 56%. We must give the Colonials credit as this was for sure was their best performance of the season and they came out swinging in the first half. Temples runs were always countered by a clutch shot by the Colonials and when you are down 40-25 at the half, it is one thing to get back into the game, but another to actually finish the game out.
What is Next
The Temple Owls finally play a game at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, PA. This will be a big test as they welcome in the Wisconsin Badgers of the Big Ten. Wisconsin is struggling this season, but so was George Washington, so the Owls have to be ready to go right out of the gate as Wisconsin will make you work for your shots. Temple plays this game at 7 pm on December 6th, so make sure to get tickets to see another power five matchup.