Men’s basketball beats Clemson, wins Charleston Classic

The Owls made just one of their last 10 field-goal attempts, but they held on to beat Clemson University, 67-60, on Sunday at TD Arena in Charleston, South Carolina.

Senior forward Obi Enechionyia dunks during the Owls' 70-60 exhibition win against Jefferson University at the Liacouras Center on Nov. 9. He won the tournament MVP for the Charleston Classic, which Temple won by beating Clemson University on Sunday in South Carolina. | SYDNEY SCHAEFER / THE TEMPLE NEWS

In each of Temple’s three games at the Charleston Classic, the team had one half where it made less than 35 percent of its field-goal attempts.

The Owls shot 28.6 percent in the second half of their season-opening win against Old Dominion University on Thursday, and they opened Friday’s win against Auburn University by shooting 11-for-33.

Temple shot just 28.6 percent in the second half and made one of its last 10 field-goal tries, but the team defeated Clemson University, 67-60, on Sunday night in South Carolina, to win the Charleston Classic title.

The Owls claimed their second straight win in an early-season tournament. They won the National Invitation Tournament Season Tip-Off after beating ranked Florida State University and West Virginia University teams on Thanksgiving and Black Friday in 2016.

Before last year, Temple hadn’t won a season tournament since the 1998-99 season.

Temple avenged its loss to the Tigers in the inaugural Charleston Classic final in 2008. Trevor Booker, now a Brooklyn Nets power forward, grabbed 16 rebounds and scored 15 points for Clemson in its four-point win. Lavoy Allen, who played with the Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers from 2011-17, had 14 points for the Owls.

Temple led by six at halftime on Sunday. A 3-pointer by senior forward Obi Enechionyia with 10 minutes, 19 seconds left put the team up by 10 points.

Enechionyia won the tournament’s MVP award. He averaged 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in the three games. Enechionyia also won the MVP of last year’s NIT Season Tip-Off.

After Enechionyia’s 3-pointer, Temple only made two field goals. The Owls scored nine of their final 14 points off free throws.

Sophomore guard Quinton Rose’s jumper with 7:27 left put Temple up, 57-46. Temple didn’t make another field goal until sophomore guard Shizz Alston Jr. made a 3-pointer with 2:37 left.

After he shot 5-for-8 from 3-point range against Auburn on Friday, Rose struggled against the Tigers. He recorded his first double-double of his career with 10 points and 11 rebounds, but he shot 4-for-15 from the floor and didn’t make any of his four 3-point attempts.  

Rose took better care of the ball with two turnovers in 34 minutes after combining for nine turnovers in his first two games. He averaged 16.3 points in the three games to earn all-tournament team selection.

Alston made all four of his free-throw attempts in the final minute to close out the win. He had 14 points, made all six of his free throws, dished three assists and grabbed three rebounds.

Alston has made 42 free throws in a row, which is the second-longest streak in program history. The record is 49 straight free throws by Lynn Greer in March 2001.

Redshirt-senior guard Josh Brown started 2-for-3 from the field after combining to shoot 3-for-13 in his first two games. He picked up his second foul with 8:31 left in the first half and had to sit until the second half with foul trouble. Brown finished with 13 points.

While Brown sat, sophomore guard Alani Moore II played in his place. He had eight points in his first four minutes, and he finished with 12 points and five rebounds. Moore played 29 minutes, 10 more than he played against Auburn. Freshman forward De’Vondre Perry contributed the other two bench points for the Owls with his first career field goal with 6:41 left in the first half.

Temple starts the season with a 3-0 record away from home for the first time in program history. The Owls gave Clemson its first loss of the season. Temple took advantage of 18 Tigers turnovers, scoring 25 points off their giveaways.

Three Tigers scored in double figures. Redshirt-junior guard Shelton Mitchell led all scorers with 16 points and didn’t have any turnovers in 38 minutes. Redshirt-junior guard Marcquise Reed had 14 points and seven rebounds. Senior forward Donte Grantham scored 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting and finished one rebound shy of a double-double.

Temple, which has garnered praise as a potential NCAA tournament team from analysts after its showing in South Carolina, will face Big 5 rival La Salle on Sunday at 5 p.m. at Tom Gola Arena.

The Explorers won their first Big 5 game on Nov. 13 when they beat Penn, 75-71, in overtime at The Palestra. Temple had a chance to win last year’s Big 5 title, but it lost to Villanova on the road in December. Villanova has had a stranglehold over the Big 5, winning its last 18 games in the series.

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