Philadelphia, PA – After starting the year 1-2, with losses to New Hampshire and UMass, Temple Owls shocked ranked West Virginia and Florida State en route to a NIT Season Tip Off Championship last week. Still, the Owls were slight underdogs heading into Wednesday night’s contest with their city rival St. Joseph’s Hawks.. But behind forward Obi Enechionyia’s 26 points, Temple outlasted Saint Joe’s in a hard-fought wire-to-wire matchup typical of this rivalry.
The 6-10 junior, who was named MVP of the Preseason NIT, shot 6-of-12 from behind the arc – continually hushing the raucous Hawk Hill crowd. Freshman guards Shizz Alston Jr. and Alani Moore II were also impressive in the win. Displaying poise usually associated with seasoned senior guards, the duo committed just two turnovers. Alston was especially impressive, using his 6-4 frame to rise above St. Joseph’s smaller guards and bury mid-range jumpers. The more diminutive Moore played well above his height (5-10), pulling down five rebounds and hitting two big threes.
However, perhaps Temple’s most impressive freshman was Rochester, New York native Quinton Rose. The lanky, 6-8 swingman possesses a shooting form that would make even Shawn Marion cringe. But Rose has serious game, and used his athleticism to get to the rim at will, finishing with 14 points and six rebounds. He even knocked down a three somehow.
For Saint Joe’s, per usual, it was the Shavar Newkirk show. The 6-1 junior scored a team-high 22 points off 4-of-6 from deep and an array of acrobatic finishes at the rim. The A-10’s third leading scorer could have used some help from freshman Charlie Brown, who shot a poor 3-of-12 from the field. Despite his poor shooting, the 6-6 Brown can clearly stroke it, played with a ton of energy, and showed off his jumping ability by pulling down a team-high seven rebounds. Newkirk’s backcourt mate Lamar Kimble flirted with a triple double, scoring 12 points to go with nine assists and six rebounds.
Despise the size disadvantage, St. Joseph’s won the rebound battle, but in the end, it had no answer for Temple’s Enechionyia. When 6-6 junior forward James Demery returns from injury, the Hawks will be a force to reckon with in the A-10.
The 78-72 win improves Temple to 5-2. Meanwhile, St. Joseph’s drops to 3-3 ahead of Saturday’s showdown with #2 ranked Villanova.
This article was written by Robby Smukler, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can subscribe to our RSS feed from the upper right corner of our home page, follow us on Facebook, or on twitter.
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