PHILADELPHIA, PA. 11/11/2016 – The Big Five Season opened as the La Salle Explorers and the Temple Owls raised the curtain at the Liacouris Center. The City Series created excitement for both squads who had relatively new lineups. Each team put on a good show, scored a lot of points, and delivered a thriller as Temple earned a 97 – 62 win in overtime.
“Confidence wise, it gives us a big boost,” said Temple Center Obi Enechionyia. “When you win your first game, we know how much it helps. To win a Big Five game like this, it helps our confidence.”
With just a 4.6 seconds left in regulation La Salle guard Jordan Price nailed a three-pointer to tie the score at 81 forcing another five minutes of play. In the extra period the Owls held an 86 – 85 lead then went on to score the next six points behind guards Shizz Alston and Daniel Dingle to lead with a minute and a half remaining, and hang on to win the thriller.
“A Big Five game, a Friday night, this is why I came to Temple,” said Alston.
The Owls held a three-point halftime lead and stretched that advantage to double figures, the last being 71 – 61 with 5:43 to go. The Explorers would not go away and tied the game getting the game-tying score the way it was planned.
“It was like it was drawn-up,” Price said. “We ran the play, I got open and shot the ball.”
There were many players that had to step up for the Cherry and White, players that did not have previous experience. Enechionyia was expected to be a leader and he delivered scoring 20 points and pulled down 14 rebounds. Other players that are becoming leaders such as Dingle who had a game and career-high 21 points. He handed out 5 assists which tied a career-mark. The senior is now a teacher applying the lessons he has learned.
“It helps my confidence knowing that coach trusts me,” said Dingle. “Young guys have to follow me and watch me. I have to help the young guys,”
“Dan was terrific in a lot of ways,” said Temple Coach Fran Dunphy. “He carried us for a large part of the game. Dan’s a good leader.”
Alston set a best ever in points (14), assists (6), and rebounds (5). He had 2 steals and scored 4 points in a one-minute span of the overtime that included a steal and layup to give Temple their biggest lead with 1:33 on the clock.lead. Center Earnest Aflakpui recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Quinton Rose scored in double-figures with 12 points, and fellow frosh Alani Moore scored 8 points and had no turnovers in 30 minutes. Six Owls scored in double-figures.
The Explorers had four new players on the floor. Of the transfers it was forward B.J. Johnson lead the way a game-high 23 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. Guard Pookie Powell scored 17 points while taking down 7 boards and dished 4 assists. Demetruis Henry added 8 points. True Freshman Isaiah Deas had 12 points and 7 rebounds.
“We battled back and fought,” said La Salle Coach Dr. John Giannini. “But our defense was poor and we weren’t physical enough. We have to get better. I am disappointed in our play, not our effort.”
Both teams shot the ball over 40% and Temple made just under half of their shots. It was the Owls that had a big edge in rebounds taking down 47 to 35 for the Explorers.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Dunphy said. “It was a terrific win for us.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian