Sports

Enechionyia sets career-high in loss to Georgia

Senior forward Obi Enechionyia dropped 27 points and moved to 46th on the program’s all-time scoring list, but the Owls lost 84-66 in Athens, Georgia.

Sophomore guard Quinton Rose didn’t hit his first field goal until there were 13 minutes, 43 seconds left in the second half.

Rose and junior guard Shizz Alston Jr., who entered Friday’s game against the University of Georgia averaging a combined 33 points, shot a collective 6-for-25 and scored 15 points in the Owls’ 84-66 loss in Georgia. Rose scored all 13 of his points in the second half.

“We need those two guys,” coach Fran Dunphy told reporters after the game. “Those are two of our bigger threats. When they struggled like they did, that hurt us.”

Georgia (9-2), ranked No. 59 in the Ratings Percentage Index before Friday’s action, earned a quality win by beating No. 13 Temple (7-4).

After shooting 9-for-12 and scoring a career-high 27 points against top-ranked Villanova on Dec. 13, Rose is 7-for-26 in his past two games. He shot 2-for-10 against Drexel on Saturday. He started 0-for-5 until his buzzer-beating 3-pointer to close the first half.

Alston shot 4-for-12 against both Villanova and Drexel and shot 1-for-9 and 0-for-5 from 3-point range against the Bulldogs. The last time Alston didn’t make a 3-pointer in a game was Jan. 7 against East Carolina.

Senior forward Obi Enechionyia broke out of his mini shooting slump. In his past three games before Friday, Enechionyia shot 4-for-25 from the field and 1-for-10 from 3-point range.

He scored 27 points against Georgia on 9-for-15 from the field and 7-for-9 from 3-point range. He passed his previous career-high of 26, which he accomplished twice last season and once during the 2015-16 season.

Enechionyia entered the game with 1,064 career points, which ranked 47th in program history ahead of Ollie Johnson. Enechionyia’s 27 points moved him up to 1,091 points, which ranks 46th in program history. He is one point behind Keith Parham, who played from 1977-81.

“We had a chance to come in here and make a statement and we didn’t, so I’m pretty upset about that,” Enechionyia told reporters after the game.

“It felt good to get my shot back and start hitting again,” he added. “Just trying to take that rhythm into the next game and keep it up.”

Enechionyia’s effort wasn’t enough, however. Georgia led by as many as 23 points in the second half. Bulldogs senior forward Yante Maten had 30 points, a season-high. Maten shot 8-for-17 from the field and made 12 free throws. He also grabbed 12 rebounds.

“I thought Maten did a great job on a couple plays,” Dunphy said. “Even down the stretch, if we were sniffing any kind of comeback, his big three at the top of the key really hurt us.”

Two other Bulldogs scored in double figures. Freshman forward Nicolas Claxton scored a career-high 14 points and finished one rebound shy of a double-double.

Claxton attempted 10 free throws. The Owls sent Georgia to the free-throw line 39 times. Three Temple players fouled out, including redshirt-senior guard Josh Brown. Freshman guard Nate Pierre-Louis replaced him and shot 2-for-4.

Georgia outrebounded Temple 48-30. The Bulldogs outscored Temple by 12 in the paint and received 31 points from their bench.

The Owls’ next game is their American Athletic Conference opener on Thursday against Tulane at the Liacouras Center. Enechionyia called the nonconference stretch a “rollercoaster.”

“Lost to some teams that we should have beaten and we won some good games, so I think that just lets us know that we can keep up with anyone,” Enechionyia said. “And when we play like we know we can, we can win any game.”

Evan Easterling

can be reached at evan.easterling@temple.edu
Or you can follow Evan on Twitter @Evan_Easterling
Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews

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