PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/28/2018 – The Temple Owls were looking to bounce back after a loss at Cincinnati in a Sunday night, nationally televised game against the Connecticut Huskies. Behind one of their more consistent efforts at both ends of the court Temple got a resounding 85 – 57 win at the Liacouras Center.
“We talked about getting the game back,” guard Shizz Alston, Jr. said about the importance of the win. “We wanted to show people that we are a good team. We needed to get that win.”
The shine on the game was on defense for the Cherry and White. The Owls created 16 turnovers, 9 by steals, while just making 5 miscues. The advantage led to a 23 – 4 edge in points off turnovers for Temple, which led to easy fast break baskets where the hosts had a 15 – 2 edge in points.
More importantly the Owls defense held Huskies guard and leading scorer Jalen Adams to 7 points, his season low, and over 11 points under his average.
“We played well defensively and I thought we did a good job on Adams keeping him in front of us,” Temple Coach Fran Dunphy said. “He’s tough to guard, so to have it where he didn’t kill us was a good defensive effort.”
“When we are playing good defense, our offense gets better,” Alston, Jr. said. “We played good defense and let the offense flow.”
On offense the Cherry and White made nearly half of their shots and made 10 of 25 from beyond the arc. Alston, Jr. led the way for the Owls with 18 points and 4 made three-pointers to go along with 4 assists. Quinton Rose scored 17 points and also handed out 4 assists. Forward Ernest Aflakpui scored a season-high 13 points making 6 of 9 from the floor. Forward Obi Enechionyia had 9 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, 8 off the offensive glass, a season-high.
Temple started fast getting out to an 11 – 4 lead. UConn came back to take the lead at 18 – 14 midway through the first half. The Owls answered with a 24 – 4 run to take control. The Owls were not threatened in the second half.
“We have to take care of the ball, play a little bit better, and not allow teams to go on runs like that,” said Connecticut Coach Kevin Ollie.
“We knew they (Temple) was going to come out and play well. We wanted to take the first punch, and we did. Then they threw their second punch and we didn’t counter punch.”
Guard Christian Vital led the Huskies with 15 points, and Antwoine Anderson scored 11 points.
The Owls get a win over the team that occupies a spot in the upper half of the American standings. Temple improved to 11 – 10 this season, and are 3 – 6 in conference. The Owls host nationally ranked Wichita State on Thursday. They go into that contest planning to build off this win.
“Playing a game like this gives us momentum into the game that we need,” Enechionyia said. “This game was huge for us. I think we are going to build off the momentum going into the game with the mindset we did today.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian