Ethan Happ had his way with Temple.
The University of Wisconsin redshirt-junior forward scored a game-high 23 points in several ways on the block until coach Fran Dunphy made an adjustment late in the contest.
Out of a timeout, Dunphy went small with senior forward Obi Enechionyia at the five. Enechionyia had two blocks on Happ in the final minutes of game to help the Owls beat Wisconsin, 59-55, at the Liacouras Center on Wednesday.
Enechionyia finished with 11 points, six rebounds and four blocks.
Coach Fran Dunphy on going small at the end of the game with Enechionyia at the 5. pic.twitter.com/ll9EGwuKky— Tom Ignudo (@TomIgnudo) December 7, 2017
“I just did what I could to stay straight up and contest every shot to the best of my ability,” Enechionyia said.
“Coach did a good job of recognizing that and seeing that I could guard him,” he added.
With less than 30 seconds left, junior guard Shizz Alston Jr. missed a stepback 3-pointer that would’ve put Temple up by five points. But he shortly redeemed himself.
Alston sealed the game for Temple with a pair of free throws down the stretch. Alston broke former guard Lynn Greer’s program record for consecutive made free throws during the game and now has 52 in a row.
Alston said his dad, former guard Levan Alston, emphasized the importance of being an efficient free-throw shooter when he was younger. Alston led Temple in points with 22 on 7-of-15 shooting. He also had three rebounds and two assists.
“It means a lot to me,” Alston said. “I looked up to Lynn growing up. I was at almost every one of his home games when he played here, so it means a lot to me with him being here and getting the record while he’s here.”
Alston said he likes the small lineup the Owls used with Enechionyia at the five because it can draw mismatches.
Late in the game, the Owls created a mismatch in their favor with Enechionyia in the paint off the pick-and-roll.
Enechionyia set a screen on freshman guard Brad Davison, who was guarding redshirt-senior guard Josh Brown. Instead of staying with Brown, Davison switched with Happ to guard Enechionyia.
Brown then dumped the ball to Enechioynia, who has a seven-inch height advantage over Davison, in the post for an easy bucket to give Temple a 55-54 lead with two minutes, 23 seconds remaining in the game.
“I feel like that’s our strongest lineup at the end of the game,” Alston said. “It’s the smartest lineup also. [Sophomore center] Damion [Moore] and [junior center Ernest Alfakpui] are good players, but down the stretch I like the four guards with Obi.”
Wisconsin coach Greg Gard https://t.co/GKEN8e3hlv— Evan Easterling (@Evan_Easterling) December 7, 2017
Brown took a forearm to the nose from redshirt-sophomore guard Brevin Pritzl at the 16:36 mark of the second half. Pritzl received a flagrant one foul after the officials reviewed the play.
Brown returned to the game five minutes later. He told reporters after the game he’ll play against St. Joseph’s on Saturday and that he has an x-ray scheduled for Thursday. He finished with 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Josh Brown, who took a forearm to the nose, told reporters that he'll play on Saturday against Saint Joe's, although he has an x-ray scheduled for Thursday. Brown's nose was visibly swollen.— Matt Vender (@Matt_Vender) December 7, 2017
Wisconsin’s 55 points are the fewest Temple has given up this season. After Temple allowed George Washington University to shoot 60 percent from the field and 56.3 percent on 3-pointers during Sunday’s loss, Enechionyia said it was a big emphasis to be strong defensively.
Midway through the second half after Pritzl missed a 3-pointer, the Owls forced a shot-clock violation because of their defensive rotations. The Badgers only shot 5-for-20 from beyond the arc against Temple.
“We knew we had to step up on that end and stop guys, which we didn’t do on Sunday,” Enechionyia said. “So that was an emphasis all week, and it worked.”