PHILADELPHIA, PA. 11/30/2016 – The feathers usually fly when the Hawks and Owls meet in a Big Five game. This was no exception. It was a hotly contested, well played game. Junior forward Obi Enechionyia scored a career-high tying 26 points to lead the Temple Owls to a 78 – 72 Big Five win over the Saint Joseph’s Hawks at the Hagan Arena.
Enechionya scored 16 first half points. Late in the game with the Owls leading 57 – 56 Enechionyia exploded for 7 straight points for the Cherry and White to stretch the lead to 64 – 58 with 6:14 on the clock. It was his dagger three with just over a minute to play that iced the win.
“It’s good to see my first shot go in,” said Enechionyia. “The nerves are gone and I am completely focused. Seeing that first shot go down makes me right for the rest of the game.”
Temple shot close to 50% (31 – 63) and made 10 of 27 from distance. The Owls committed only 5 turnovers and had 6 steals. More than just Enechionyia the Owls got double-figures production from freshman guard Quinton Rose who scored 14 points and sophomore guard Shizz Alston, Jr. who had 11.
Temple was also sparked by the return of senior guard Josh Brown playing his first game coming back form an achillies tendon injury. His presence on the floor and effect on the game cannot be measured in the boxscore. He had 2 points in 14 minutes, but he meant much more.
“Obi used the word comforting,” Temple Coach Fran Dunphy said about the return of Brown. “I think that’s what it is. We are just different with him handling the ball. It was nice to have him out there.”
Saint Joe’s hit 12 of 23 from beyond the arc, and turned the ball over 9 times. While they were hot from outside, the Hawks only converted 13 of 27 two-point shots.
Still the Hawks stayed in contention. Over the last six minutes SJU trailed by no more than 5 points and got to within one on an old fashion three-point play by forward Nick Robinson. With 1:40 left Enechionyia got an open look from three-point land that rimmed out. Forward Daniel Dingle was there for the tip in to give the Owls space.
“We had some really good plays,” Dunphy said about how his team held off Saint Joe’s. “His follow up on Obi’s miss was big. We made plays at the right time. It was more offensive than defensive.”
This season the Hawks are being led in minutes and points by guards Shavar Newkirk and Lamarr Kimble. Newkirk had a team-high 22 points and 5 assists in 38 minutes of play. Kimble scored 12 and dished out a career-high tying 9 assist in 37 minutes.
“We play through our guards,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Phil Martelli. “We need more balance than him (Newkirk) getting 20 a night. Where is the other 52 we need to stay in the game? It’s nice to watch the two of them play off each other, both he and Lamarr.”
Temple improves to 5 – 2 and are 2 – 0 in the Big Five. They will have another city series game on Saturday as the University of Pennsylvania comes to North Broad Street for a visit.
Saint Joe’s falls to 3 – 3, 0 – 1 in city play. The Hawks will look to break the three-game losing streak, but will have a huge task as they will be on the Main Line to play #2 Villanova on Saturday.
Written By: Glenn Papazian