PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/1/2018 – For the third time this season the Temple Owls have defeated a nationally ranked team. The Owls did so coming from behind in regulation and in the overtime period defeating the #16 Wichita State Shockers 81 – 79 on two free throws by center Obi Enechionyia with 18.1 seconds on the clock in front of 6,320 at the Liacouras Center.
“We’ve been fortunate enough over the years to have them, ” said Temple Coach Fran Dunphy about winning against ranked squads. “I am proud that our guys had a chance to do that. It was great to survive in a really hard-fought game. We are thrilled to have it.”
In pulling off the upset Temple needed to get defensive stops and take care of the basketball. The Cherry and White did not do so in the first half, but were very effective in the second half and extra five minutes in having Wichita State join Auburn and Clemson as ranked victims.
In the initial 20 minutes the Shockers made half of their 32 shots, and were 7 of 13 from three-point land. Wichita State led 48 – 40, the most points Temple gave up in the first half this season. In the second half the Owls held the Shockers to 35.5% shooting (11 of 31) and gave up one three-point basket. The hosts went with out a shot just two times.
“We played good team defense,” said Josh Brown who had a season-high tying 3 steals. “Everybody was communicating. We tried our best to finish off a possession with a rebound. They are a good team offensively. We had to communicate.”
Temple trailed 72 – 65 with just over five minutes in regulation. The Owls would give up two more points in the latter twenty minutes. The Cherry and White inbounded with 13 seconds left and got the tie on a layup by Shizz Alston,Jr. at the 6.8 second mark, two of his 12 points. Wichita State missed a three allowing for five more minutes of play.
The Shockers went ahead in overtime 79 – 74 on a Shaquille Morris dunk, 2 of his season-high 24 points with 2:19 showing on the clock. Undaunted, the Owls scored the next five points on a three by Quinton Rose, then two foul shots by Alston, Jr. with 1:45 showing.
The key sequence for Temple came at the 24 second mark. Alston, Jr. missed a jumper, but guard Nate Pierre-Louis got an offensive rebound, kicked it out to Rose who missed shot from beyond the arc. In a scramble the Owls got the ball. Shockers guard Landry Shamet fouled Enechionyia who sank both from the charity stripe. Wichita State had one more chance, but a Markis McDuffie three was off the mark. The horn sounded, and the Temple fans stormed the floor.
“A lot of games hadn’t gone our way,” Alston, Jr. said. “It was time for things to go our way.”
Austin Reaves scored 20 for the Shockers making three from deep in the first half. Morris added a game-high 9 rebounds. Shamet handed out 7 assists, but had an uncharacteristic, season-high 6 turnovers.
“They made one more play than us,” said Wichita State Coach Gregg Marshall. “They made plays down the stretch and we did not.”
Five Owls scored in double-figure, something they did in the Clemson game. Rose scored a team-high 19 points. Brown added 15, and Pierre-Louis and Enechionyia scored 11 each.
This is a big win for Temple, something to build on. They will travel to Tulane next, a team who defeated them earlier this season before hosting ECU.
“This is huge for us, and the way it was achieved,” said Dunphy. “The fight was in us.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian