Temple Owls

Obi Enechionyia lifts Temple to Charleston Classic final

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Obi Enechionyia lifts Temple to Charleston Classic final


CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Obi Enechionyia felt Temple was itching to get going at the Charleston Classic. That been evident in its run to the tournament finals.

Enechionyia had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Owls into the tournament title game with an 88-74 victory over the Tigers. Temple's season-opening game was a win over Old Dominion here Thursday as they eased into a long starting stretch that doesn't see them play a home game until Wisconsin on Dec. 6.

"I think it showed that we're ready to play in both games," Enechionyia said. "It wasn't a big deal to us, but I think it kind of helped us."

Temple (2-0) pulled away late from their Southeastern Conference opponent to move back into its second Charleston finals. And they may get the chance to avenge a loss to Clemson in that 2008 championship game -- the Clemson Tigers face Hofstra for the other spot in Sunday night's title contest.

"It's exciting," Enechionyia said. "It's like last year in the preseason NIT."

That's where Temple won the NIT Season Tip-Off event with an 81-77 victory over West Virginia in 2016. Temple coach Fran Dunphy hopes his team can channel those good experiences from last year this time around.

"Three games in four days, that's a lot of basketball," he said. "We need some rest."

Auburn will play the Hofstra-Clemson loser Sunday -- the tournament takes a college football break Saturday -- for third place.

Temple trailed the Tigers (2-1) on Jared Harper's basket with 10:17 to go. Shizz Alston Jr. hit a 3-pointer to put the Owls back in front -- the ball hit off the rim, bounded high in the air before falling through -- and Enechionyia gave them the lead for good with a pair of foul shots moments later. Auburn made one last charge when Mustapha Heron's 3 pulled the Tigers to 70-67. But Quinton Rose followed with a 3-pointer and Auburn never caught up.

Rose finished with 19 points off five 3-pointers. Alston had 18 points, 11 in the second half, for Temple.

Anfernee McLemore led Auburn with 19 points, but he also picked up a technical at a crucial juncture. His foul against Temple came from holding onto the rim for too long after a dunk and allowed Temple to quickly move back in front on Alston's two foul shots when McLemore had tied things at 48-all.

McLemore said the players ran out of gas down the stretch. "We just have to stay focused," he said. "We had mental lapses in the second half."

It was Enechionyia's first double-double of the season and fourth of his career.

The takeaway
Auburn: When the Tigers show up cold from the outside, it could be a long game. Auburn hit just 3 of 18 3-pointers in the opening half and the Tigers were generally off target throughout the first 20 minutes. Mustapha Heron was 1 of 9 including 0 of 4 from behind the arc. DeSean Murray and Bryce Brown were each 1 of 7. The numbers improved some in the second half (5 of 15 from three), but Tigers will have to find a better balance if they hope to compete in the Southeastern Conference.

Temple: The Owls were continually caught flat-footed by Auburn's guards, who found ways to get to the basket early -- even if the Tigers could not find the basket. Temple picked up its defense in the second half to pull away from the Tigers.

Tech problems
Auburn has picked up four technical fouls in two games.

Threes a plenty
Neither team was particularly crisp from long range. Temple hit 10 of 26 3-pointers (38.6 percent) while Auburn finished just 8 of 33 from behind the arc (24.8 percent). "We could've gotten better looks," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. "We didn't get to the foul line in the second half which was real key."

Up next
Auburn will play the Clemson-Hofstra loser on Sunday for third place.

Temple will face either Clemson or Hofstra for the tournament championship Sunday night. 

Temple put back on its heels in AAC tourney ouster

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Temple put back on its heels in AAC tourney ouster


ORLANDO, Fla. -- No. 11 Wichita State has advanced to the semifinals of American Athletic Conference tournament.


Landry Shamet scored 24 points, Rashard Kelly had 16 and the Shockers held off pesky Temple for an 89-81 victory on Friday night.

Wichita State (25-6) also got a strong performance from its reserves, including 13 points from Austin Reaves. Next up is the winner of the Houston-Central Florida game.

The Shockers won two of three against the Owls this season, and the outcome was in doubt every time.

"We certainly do bring out the best in them," Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. "The bottom line is that they make a lot of shots against us, but we usually do get great contributions from our bench. We go 10 or 11 deep and that's a good thing."

Wichita State led 78-75 with 2:23 left and closed it out with 11 foul shots.

Temple stayed close with its perimeter shooting. The Owls went 11 of 24 from 3-pointg range and shot 50.9 percent from the field overall.

Quinton Rose led Temple (17-15) with 25 points. Shizz Alston and Josh Brown each had 15 points for the Owls, who didn't have enough depth to keep pace with Wichita State in the final minutes.

"I loved our fight, I loved how we were hanging with them each and every moment," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "I think late we just needed another basket, another stop, but they're a really good basketball team. They made some veteran plays at the right time."

The Shockers were clinging to a 63-61 lead with eight minutes to play when Reaves, fellow reserve Markis McDuffie and Kelly powered a key 13-3 run. The three combined for 11 points in the surge and helped cool off Rose while leading Wichita State to a 76-64 advantage with just over four minutes remaining.

Shaquille Morris made two foul shots to put the Shockers up 55-45 early in the second half, but the Owls rallied behind Rose. The sophomore guard scored 12 of his team's next 14 points to cut the deficit to 61-59 with 9:10 left.

"Quinton did a great job in that stretch and got us where we needed to be," Dunphy said. "But again, we needed a little better effort at the defensive end and just be a little smarter."

Big picture
Temple: The Owls had some nice early season wins -- Wisconsin, Clemson, Auburn, South Carolina -- but need to take the next step in the conference season. The Owls were only 8-10 in AAC play.

Wichita State: The Shockers are aching for a rematch with top-seeded Cincinnati, but first they'll have to get past the winner of the Houston-UCF game and they've struggled with both. Houston handed Wichita State its worst loss of the season, and UCF took the Shockers to overtime before losing in the second-to-last game of the regular season. Wichita State will need another good night from its reserves to reach the finals.

Temple narrowly avoids disaster

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Temple narrowly avoids disaster


ORLANDO, Fla. -- Shizz Alston Jr. hit three free throws in the final minute and Temple avoided being upset by a lower seed in the first round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament for the second year in a row, holding off Tulane 82-77 Thursday night.

Temple, the No. 7 seed, advances to face second-seeded Wichita State on Friday in the tourney quarterfinals.

Last year the eighth-seeded Owls were upset by No. 9 seed ECU.

Nate Pierre-Louis made a free throw with 1:01 left to give Temple a 77-71 lead, but the 10th-seeded Green Wave roared back behind two Cameron Reynolds 3-pointers sandwiched around an Alston free throw to make it 78-77 with :37 remaining. Alston was fouled with :16 left and hit both free throws to make it 80-77, and Caleb Daniels missed a 3 with :05 left that would have tied the game. Josh Brown added two free throws with a second left to set the final score.

Obi Enechionyia led the Owls (17-14) with 19 points. Alston added 17 points and dished eight assists and Brown added 15 points, six boards, three assists and two steals.

Reynolds hit 3 of 7 from distance and paced Tulane (14-17) with 22 points. Melvin Frazier added 15 points and Samir Sehic and Ray Ona Embo added 11 and 10 points, respectively.