NCAAB

Temple upsets #16 Wichita State Shockers

The Temple Owls hosted the Wichita State Shockers last night in their first meeting as conference foes. Temple was able to make a comeback to win 81-79. Temple has now won 3 of their last 4 games to improve their record to (12-10) and (4-6) in AAC play.

The Owls always find a way to beat a ranked team at home every year. They could be the worst team in all of sports, but they always pull off an upset. The last few years it has been West Virginia, SMU, and Kansas just to name a few and this year it was the #16 Wichita State Shockers. This marks the fifth straight year Temple has beaten a ranked opponent at home when they were unranked.

Early on, Temple had been playing traditional Owl hoops. The offense that Fran Dunphy infused on the players was to be aggressive and shoot threes all night long. I noticed that Josh Brown, the senior leader, was not content with being a facilitator, but changed his attributes to a three-point specialist. Halfway through the first half, he was a perfect (3-3) from beyond the arc with nine points. Overall, the team shot (5-7) from three, which was their best performance in recent memory.

A great sight to see was the emergence of the young freshman, especially in the first half. Guard, Nate Pierre-Louis played starter minutes. He clocked out with 31 minutes on the court and he made them all count. He ended the game with all the veterans as the coaching staff has confidence in his ability to get to the rim and make the right play. J.P Moorman had five points coming in the first half, but his presence on the court is something not to take lightly. He plays like Draymond Green as he always makes the correct pass and gets stops on defense. The Temple freshmen played a key role in tonight’s victory.

Quinton Rose made the last five points for the Owls going into the half down 48-40. The Shockers always had an answer when the Owls came knocking. Don’t get me wrong, Temple played outstanding in the first, but the veteran leadership by the Shockers showed on the court.

The second half was a parallel of the first half. Temple made runs but the Shockers would answer with a three or a dunk by phenom Shaquille Morris, senior center, for Wichita St. He was (10-16) from the field with nine rebounds to go along with that and finished with 24 points.

With 10:30 left in the second half, Temple made another push. The Owls went on a 10-4 run led by Rose, who scored six of those points, capping the run off with a dunk to put broad street up 64-63.

Temple needed a spark, and Nate Pierre Louis gave them that bolt of energy with a clutch three to cut the deficit to 72-68 with 4:45 remaining. After two free throws made by Temple, Shizz Alston Jr came out of his slump and tied the game up 72-72 with a mid-range jumper. He was shooting 20% before he hit that bucket and ended up shooting (5-22) for the game.

Shaquille Morris made a layup to put Shockers up but it all came down to the possession of Temple to decide if this game would be over in regulation or a possibly overtime. Philadelphia got their wish as Shizz Alston Jr made another mid-range jumper to send this game to extra innings.

In the OT, Rose hit a three to cut a five-point deficit down to two points. The rest of the way was at the free throw line for both teams. The Owls were able to pull the correct strings as they hit all four of their free throws to end the game with 81 points. Luckily, the Shockers missed a wide-open three with a few seconds left in another road loss for the Shockers.

Temple shot 40% from beyond three-point range to Wichita State’s 29%, as this was the major difference in this key win for Temple. They have now won back to back home games in AAC play and must go (7-1) if they want any shot at a bubble bid. The NCAA Tournament is most likely not in the playbook, but finishing the year strong could create an optimistic approach to the off-season.

 

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