Alston hits timely baskets for Temple against Wichita State

Junior guard Shizz Alston Jr. hit a game-tying layup to force overtime and help the Owls beat Wichita State 81-79 on Thursday at the Liacouras Center.

Junior guard Shizz Alston Jr. had one of his worst shooting performances of the season against Wichita State.

But when it mattered as time wound down, Alston had amnesia. He didn’t think about all of the shots that didn’t roll off the rim in his favor.

Alston hit the game-tying layup with seven seconds left to force overtime and help the Owls beat Wichita State, the No. 16 team in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, 81-79, at the Liacouras Center on Thursday. He finished the game with 12 points on 5-of-22 shooting.

Temple has now beaten a top-25 team in 11 straight seasons.

“I knew I wasn’t shooting it well from the outside, and I felt that I couldn’t let my team down tonight,” Alston said. “[Redshirt-senior guard] Josh [Brown] kept me going saying, ‘Keep shooting and get to the basket.’ So I decided he carried us in the second half, so I tried to help him out as much as I could in the second.”

“He didn’t shoot very well from the 3-point line…but you trusted him,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “Because he’s been around a little bit. He’s a good guy and nobody wants to win and make plays more than him. So we just stayed with the trust factor in him. And he rewarded us with some really good plays.”

Prior to Alston hitting the game-tying layup, coach Fran Dunphy called a timeout.

During the timeout, Alston said assistant coach Aaron McKie told him how he should anticipate the Shockers were going to guard him.

Once Alston inbounded the ball to Brown, the two did a dribble hand-off, which gave possession back to Alston.

Redshirt-sophomore guard Landry Shamet originally defended Alston out of the inbounds. But once sophomore guard Quinton Rose set a screen, senior  forward Zach Brown, a taller defender, switched onto Alston.

With a bigger defender on him, Alston blew by Brown and hit layup that sent the game into overtime.

“We had talked to Shizz a little bit earlier that if he gets a chance to drive it hard then he should do that,” Dunphy said. “I thought he made a great play.”

Alston opened up the game shooting 1-for-11 from the field. But midway through the second half, he helped the Owls take their first lead since  there were 13 minutes left in the first half.

Alston hit back-to-back buckets to cut Temple’s deficit to three points, 63-60, with 8:25 left in the contest.

Two possessions later, Rose stole the ball and finished with a dunk in transition to give the Owls a 64-63 lead.

Rose also made a couple of big baskets late in the contest. He hit a 3-pointer in overtime with 2:13 left to make it a one-possession game. Rose finished with 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting, three rebounds, four turnovers, two steals and one assist.

Freshman guard Nate Pierre-Louis provided “energy” for Temple off the bench, Brown said. Pierre-Louis scored six of Temple’s eight points during an 8-2 run in the second half. He finished with 11 points, five rebounds and two assists.

“There were some big, big shots by some guys and we got a little fortunate,” Dunphy said. “[The Shockers] had a couple open looks that didn’t go as well, especially late. So we fortunate that way, but we’re thrilled to have it. These are long seaons. And to get a win like this against a team that has that kind of cache to it, it’s really great.”

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