PHILADELPHIA, PA. 12/6/2017 – The non-conference schedule continued for the Temple Owls. This time they would meet a Big Ten opponent in the Wisconsin Badgers. The two losses for the Owls came in close games against Atlantic 10 opponents. This was similar, a close game but this one went in Temple’s favor on four free throws in the last minute-plus by guard Shizz Alston, Jr. to post a 59 – 55 win at the Liacouris Center.
In sinking the decisive foul shots Alston set a school record for consecutive made free throws at 52 dating back to last season. He broke the record set by Lynn Greer.
“It means a lot,” Alston said about setting the mark with Greer in attendance. “I looked up to him growing up and saw most every one of his home games when he played here. It means a lot to me with him being here.”
“It was most important to get the win,” said Alston. “It wouldn’t have meant much if we had lost.”
It appeared that each team was playing in a game waiting to be won as neither squad could put together a decisive run. The largest lead of the game was six points when Temple took a 47 – 41 lead midway through the second half. The Badgers got the lead back at the 5:49 mark on a basket by forward Ethan Happ, two of his game-high 25 points. Wisconsin kept the advantage until guard Quinton Rose converted a free throw to tie the game at 55 with two minutes on the clock.
Looking to regain the lead the Badgers got the ball to Happ who turned to the basket, but had his shot blocked by Obi Enechionyia, his fourth of the half and game.
“Happ is a good player and I had to guard him, so I stayed straight up and tried to contest every shot,” said Enechionyia.
“I stayed down, kept my hands straight up and guard him as best as I could.”
The teams traded possessions until Alston gave the Cherry and White the lead for good with two from the line at the 1:09 mark. With under a minute Wisconsin looked for the lead when guard Kobe King took a three, but missed at the 12 seconds left.
“It was what we wanted,” Wisconsin Coach Greg Gard said about the possession. “If it wasn’t there, we look for Happ inside. I told Kobe if he had it and it was clean up top, and that was as clean as we ran it all night. It was there.”
Alston was fouled with 5 ticks on the clock, and his two from the charity stripe iced the game and put him in the record book. He had a team-high 22 points and was 6 for 6 from the line going along with a team-best 4 assists.
Enechionyia scored 11 points. Guard Josh Brown had 10 points and took down a season and game-high 8 rebounds.
Temple improves to 5 – 2. The win is a bounce-back after the loss to George Washington.
“Grateful for the win,” said Temple Coach Fran Dunphy. “Grateful for how we came back, and grateful for our comeback within the game.”
The Owls have another Atlantic 10 match when Big Five rival Saint Joseph’s visits on Saturday.
Written By: Glenn Papazian