PHILADELPHIA, PA. 12/12/2018 – Temple versus UMass. This game was circled on calendars as the game to see not too long ago. Times are different now. They play in different leagues, but there is still an aura of excitement when the Owls and the Minutemen meet on the court.
This game was not as nationally impactful as those in the past. However, both teams wanted to win and like years gone by, and the issue was in doubt to the end. Temple guard Shizz Alston, Jr. was the difference scoring 31 points in the Owls 65 – 63 win at the Liacouras Center.
Alston, Jr. set a career-high in scoring making 9 of 16 from the floor and 2 of 6 from beyond the arc. He set a season-high in made free throws hitting 10 of 11. As the game evolved Alston, Jr. needed to be the scorer.
“They got into the one and one early with about eight minutes left,” said Alston, Jr. “Once I saw that I told our guys we could get the foul line easy, not jump shots, the foul line.”
The Owls trailed 37 – 27 at halftime, but made a charge in the second half to take a 43 – 42 lead at the 13:04 mark on a layup by De’Vondre Perry. The game would become a see-saw affair until late as Temple held the edge.
In the last two minutes the Owls got a steal and layup from Quinton Rose to move in front by a 60 – 55 score. Alston, Jr. followed with a steal and layup giving his team a 62 – 57 margin at 1:18. UMass fought back getting to within a point with 5.1 on the clock. Alston, Jr. went to the line with 4.5 ticks left. He made the first free throw, but missed the second, only his fourth miss from the stripe this season. The Minutemen tried for a last shot, but Alston, Jr. got another steal, his third of the game tying his season-high, to end it.
The Owls hung on, but missed a chance to make it a bit easier.
“We could have closed it out better,” Temple Coach Fran Dunphy said. “We were up five, they miss a shot, if we get the rebound and get it to Shizz, we would be up 7 instead of 3.”
Rose finished the game with 14 points and a game-best 4 steals. As a team the Owls had 11 steals
“Coach preaches on defense be in the gaps,” Rose said about getting steals. “I was in the right spot.”
Center Ernest Aflakpui pulled down 8 rebounds, Damion Moore had 6.
UMass had three players score in double-figures as Luwane Pipkins, Jonathan Laurent, and Keon Ciergot all scored 12 points.
Temple remains undefeated at home and now stand at 5 – 0, and improve to 8 – 2 overall. They get a win over an old rival, a win that may be impactful this year.
“We are grittier at home and we don’t want to lose at all,” Rose said. ” We want to make a statement, and we know we can’t make a statement losing a game like this at home.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian
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