PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/31/2018 – The Temple Owls have played a tough schedule this season. Along the way they have faced four nationally ranked teams; Villanova, Auburn, Clemson, Cincinnati, and now Wichita Sate. The Owls have wins over Auburn and Clemson. With the possible exception of #1 Villanova coming to the Liacouras Center, this game has an air of excitement about it as the 16/17th ranked team in the country pays a visit on Thursday night.
It’s a wonderful opportunity, a big chance for us,” said Josh Brown. “We look forward to the challenge. They are a great team and we know what we are up for.”
“It’s a mature group, veteran laden team,” Temple Coach Fran Dunphy said about Wichita State. “It’s a great challenge and an exciting time for us.”
The Cherry and White needs to look to its defense to be successful.
“If we can guard them well, we will be where we want to be, but a lot of our defense is predicated on how well we run our offense, and how well we take care of the ball,” Dunphy said.
Wichita State was ranked as high as #5 in the polls before going on a two-game losing streak to Houston and SMU. The Shockers rebounded with wins against UCF and Tulsa to improve to 17 – 4 overall and 7 – 2 in conference.
Wichita State is averaging a league-best 83.4 points per game, and shoot nearly 50% from the field. Guard Landry Shamet leads the team scoring 14.6 points per game, and leads the American in assists at 5.2 in each game. On defense center Shaquille Norris has 37 blocked shots this season.
“Their depth is an issue,” Dunphy said. “They have a kid like Shamet who is a good a point guard as there is in the league, the way he shoots and takes care of the ball. They have all the pieces they need to be a great basketball team.”
Temple is coming off an impressive 85 – 57 American victory over Connecticut. It was the largest margin of victory for the Owls this season, and 28-points marked its largest lead. The Cherry and White dished out 20 assists in the contest. Shizz Alston, Jr. had a game-high 18 points, and Quinton Rose, Temple’s leading scorer, added 17.
“We finally put two halves together and we will build upon that,” said guard Shizz Alston, Jr. “As long as our defense stays like that, we will be fine.”
“We felt strong abut the UConn game, so we are going into this one with momentum.”
The Owls and the Shockers have met three times before, this will be the first as conference opponents. Temple won all three prior meeting, the last being a 78 – 74 overtime victory in the 5-Hour Energy Puerto Rico Tip-Off on November 20, 2011.
It will be White Out Night at the Center. The fans are encouraged to wear white in support of the home team. There will be a 30th Anniversary celebration for the 1987-88 team who finished 32 – 2 overall and was the top-ranked team in the nation at the end of the regular season.
Written By: Glenn Papazian