PHILADELPHIA, PA. 11/13/2018 – The Temple Owls made it three straight wins in the season-opening four-game homestand. The opponent was the Georgia Bulldogs of the Southeast Conference. An interesting inter-sectional battle. And an interesting game as the Owls held off a late Bulldogs charge to earn an 81 – 77 win at the Liacouras Center.
“It means a lot,” said Temple guard Shizz Alston, Jr. on getting a win against an SEC opponent. “I think the American is a good a conference as there is in the country. We continue to show that. Last year we beat a couple of SEC teams and now are hoping to do the same things, and put Temple University on the map more and more.”
Offensively, the teams went after each other. Temple got the lead early stretching it out to 11 points at halftime on a three-point basket by Alston, Jr. The Georgia shooting improved in the second half as they made 15 of 24 shots. Although Temple would find an answer, the visitors kept making charges. Georgia stayed in contention getting to within 72 – 68 with just under three and a half minutes to play riding the hot hand of guard Tyree Crump who scored 7 consecutive points in the run. He had a team-high tying 16 points for the game.
Guard Quinton Rose hit a floater with 45 seconds left to give the Owls a 79 – 74 lead.
“Shizz came up to me and told me I had to make a play,” said Rose about the final basket.
The Bulldogs responded with a three-pointer by Rayshaun Hammonds to pull to within 79 – 77 at the 27.3 mark.
Then it got really interesting. Temple turned the ball over on the inbounds. Georgia looked to go inside and got a turnaround from Derek Ogbeide, who scored 16 points, that was off the mark. Alston put the game away with two from the line for the final margin of victory.
“We gave the ball back to Rose and Shizz made a great cut to get open and got fouled,” said Temple Coach Fran Dunphy. “I don’t think you want anyone on the foul line more.”
Rose and Alston led the team in scoring with 25 points each. Alston had 6 assists and 3 steals. He surpassed the 1,000 point plateau in his career.
“It means everything,” Alston, Jr. said about scoring the 1,000th point. “Growing up watching Temple greats play, Lynn Greer, Khalif Wyatt, being part of that club means a lot.”
Guard Nate Pierre-Louis tied his career-high in steals with 3, and Ernest Aflakpui pulled down a season-high 9 rebounds.
The Cherry and White got out to an early lead by creating turnovers. The Owls had 13 steals and a 22 – 8 edge in points off turnovers. They would need those points.
Temple concludes the homestand with a Friday game against Loyola of Maryland. Last season the Owls started 3 – 0, but dropped game number four. They look to avoid that pitfall this year.
“The hope was that you would win some games early and we are at home,” Dunphy said. “We have to play our best basketball each time out.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian