The Temple men’s basketball team has put together a nice stretch over the past few weeks and has won 6 of the last 7 games. The Owls (7-3) have been led by junior forward Obi Enechionyia who is averaging 19 points, about 8 rebounds, and over 3 blocks per game while shooting 47.3 percent from three-point range.
Head coach Fran Dunphy’s Temple team, after starting 1-2, won five straight games, including two straight wins against ranked opponents to improve to 6-2. On Thanksgiving, the Owls defeated the then 25th-ranked Florida State Seminoles 89-86 after coming back from an 18-point deficit. Then, the next day, Temple beat the then 19th-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers in a game in which Temple had a 20-point halftime lead, then briefly gave up that lead in the second half, before closing it out to get a 81-77 win as Temple won the NIT Season Tip-off.
Along with Enechionyia’s strong performances, many others had big games in the tournament for Temple. Quinton Rose had 26 points off the bench against Florida State, then scored 12 against West Virginia. Shizz Alston Jr. had 22 against Florida State, then followed it up with another good performance against West Virginia. Alani Moore II, in the championship game, scored 18 points, including big free throws and defensive plays. Also, Daniel Dingle scored 15 points in that game for Temple.
After the tournament win, Enechionyia, who was awarded Most Outstanding Player of the two-day tournament, said: “It’s a confidence boost” for the Owls.
The following week, on Nov. 30, Temple was able to build off its momentum against city rival Saint Joseph’s in a tough-fought Philadelphia Big 5 matchup, as the Owls were able to come out on top with a 78-72 road win, led by Enechionyia’s game-high 26 points. Last year’s starting point guard for Temple, Josh Brown, made his season debut against the Hawks. Brown missed the first six games of the season due to an Achilles injury he suffered in the offseason. Temple then beat another city rival, Penn, 70-62, led by Alston’s team-high 14 points. However, Temple then lost a tough one to George Washington, 66-63, before rebounding for a 74-65 win over Depaul.Enechionyia has been a focal point of the offense for Temple. Meanwhile, Josh Brown, a senior, who is back from injury, may continue to be limited for some of Temple’s upcoming games, but could be a big factor as the season progresses. Also, freshman Quinton Rose has shown his explosiveness and athleticism and has been essential during this stretch. Meanwhile, the starting backcourt of Alston and Moore along with Dingle, are also key players for Temple.