As he reflected on Sunday’s road loss to George Washington University on Tuesday, junior guard Shizz Alston Jr. said Temple didn’t come out of the locker room with the same respect it had for Auburn University, Clemson University and the University of South Carolina.
Temple beat South Carolina by 16 points on Thursday at Madison Square Garden in New York to improve to 4-1 before its 71-67 loss to George Washington on Sunday. The Colonials are No. 201 in ESPN’s Basketball Power Index. Temple is 31st.
“We look at those guys, and we don’t respect them as much as we may be respecting Cincinnati or UConn,” Alston said. “So we just got to respect every team the same way.”
After playing six games away from home, Temple will start a stretch of four straight games at the Liacouras Center Wednesday night against the University of Wisconsin. The Owls will also play St. Joseph’s, Villanova and Drexel during the four-game home stint.
Temple’s loss to George Washington was its second of the season. The team lost to La Salle on Nov. 26 at Tom Gola Arena, where the Owls led by as many as 11 points in the second half and shot 55.7 percent from the field.
In their loss to the Colonials, the Owls allowed 60 percent shooting from the field and a 9-for-16 mark on 3-point shots. George Washington led by 15 points at halftime after shooting 68 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes.
“They made an extraordinary amount of shots in that first half, and we got punched in the face a little bit,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “We didn’t react like I would have liked. We gave up a couple of live-ball turnovers. We missed two layups at the rim. So if we were down six, seven, eight in the first half, we would have obviously felt better and maybe we could have made that comeback a reality.”
“I think we were prepared, but we had a sense that we were like better than them, so we didn’t have to come out and play as hard as we should,” sophomore guard Quinton Rose said. “But we learned our lesson from that, so going forward we have to respect every opponent as coach says.”
Wisconsin (4-5) enters Wednesday’s game coming off a one-point win against Big Ten Conference rival Penn State on Monday.
Redshirt-junior forward Ethan Happ, the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a 2016-17 Associated Press third-team All-American, had his worst shooting performance of the season. Happ scored nine points on 3-of-12 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Happ leads the Badgers in scoring and rebounding. He scored a season-high 23 points against a ranked Baylor University squad on Nov. 20.
“There will be a number of possessions that will happen during the course of the game where he will get a rebound and take it full court and make a play,” Dunphy said. “He’s got quite an array of offensive moves inside. He’s a really good passer, just feels the game extraordinarily.”
After Temple’s four-game home stretch, it will play the University of Georgia on the road on Dec. 22 before it begins conference play. The Owls are trying to build their NCAA Tournament resume before their American Athletic Conference begins.
“Since we messed up with those two games, we have to get all the rest of these home games,” Alston said. “We have four coming up that are very important. So we need to get all the rest of these to try to make up for what we did those two games.”