Philadelphia, PA – Temple stormed back from a 48-40 halftime deficit to defeat conference foe Wichita State 81-79 in OT. Yes, you read that right, Wichita State is in the same conference as Temple now. Fans stormed the court as Temple picked up its first of the season against a ranked opponent. The Owls have had a lackluster season thus far, categorized by a stagnant offense and one of the nation’s toughest schedules. Thursday night’s win against the No. 16 ranked Shockers could be a turning point for a Temple squad that has the pedigree of a tournament team in coach Fran Dunphy and potential pros Obi Enechionyia and Quinton Rose.
What’s incredible about the victory is that neither Enechionyia nor Rose played all that well. Enechionyia, a talented 6-10 senior who can spread the floor and protect the rim (1.7 blocks per game) struggled in the paint against Wichita’s 6-8, 280-pound behemoth Shaq Morris. Enechionyia finished with just two boards and 11 points off 2-of-6 from the field. The 6-8 (probably 6-6) sophomore Rose finished with 19 points, two steals and four turnovers. The sophomore guard, who has turned into a legitimate NBA prospect, displayed his exceptional athleticism and defensive instincts with several steals and dunks in transition. Still, Rose showed he has a way to go mentally with several indefensible turnovers and a mindboggling decision to shoot a three with Temple up two points with the shot clock off and 21 seconds left to go.
6-3 senior guard Josh Brown and 6-4 freshman guard Nate Pierre-Louis were pivotal in Temple’s win. Brown, a lefty combo guard scored a season high 15 points to go with five rebounds and three steals. Pierre-Louis, an explosive freshman out of Plainfield, NJ, was Temple’s x-factor, coming off the bench to score 11 points.
For a talented Wichita State team this is just another loss in what has been a disappointing start to their first season outside of a “mid-major” conference. Leading the way for the Shockers was senior 6-8 forward Morris and 6-5 sophomore guard Austin Reaves. Morris was a difficult cover in the paint for Owls finishing with 24 points and nine rebounds including two three’s. Reaves, who came off a 23-point outing against Tulsa on Sunday, was extremely impressive in the loss. Finishing with 20 points and five rebounds off the bench, he displayed exceptional athleticism and swagger. Reaves has a phenomenal feel for the game and can really shoot the rock. With sophomore guard Landry Shamet possibly leaving for the NBA this off-season, look for Reaves to turn into a star and legitimate NBA prospect next year.
Shamet struggled with turnovers finishing with six to go with seven assists and 12 points. Shamet is a phenomenal shooter and sees the floor incredibly well. However, he has struggled over the past four games shooting just 22 percent from the field. He has good size at the position but his lack of athleticism and speed lower his ceiling significantly. Another Shocker with an possible NBA future played slightly better. 6-8 junior forward Markis McDuffie missed the first 11 games of the season due to injury and has worked his way back into form. McDuffie is an athletic 4 who can stretch the floor and cover multiple positions. His biggest weakness right now is his ability to score off the dribble.
With the win Temple improves to 12-10 on the season and 4-6 in conference. The Owls’ are a long-shot NCAA tournament at-large candidate but with the nation’s toughest strength of schedule and a respectable 41 RPI, Temple is still in the conversation. The Owls face a tough Tulane team that they already lost to at home on Sunday. With the loss, Wichita State drops to 17-5 and 7-3 in conference. The Shockers look to get back on the right track next Tuesday at Memphis.
This article was written by Robert Smuckler, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can follow us on Facebook, or on twitter. We are looking for those interested in our basketball scout certification program. For information contact us and forward your resume.