Wichita State ends Temple’s five-game win streak

Redshirt-senior guard Josh Brown (right) directs the flow of the offense during the Owls' 81-79 win against Wichita State at the Liacouras Center on Thursday. | SYDNEY SCHAEFER / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Senior forward Obi Enechionyia had his best scoring output since December. Freshman forward De’Vondre Perry had a career-high in points.

The Owls shot a season-high 55.2 percent on 3-pointers and had five players score in double-figures.

Despite noteworthy offensive production, Temple (15-11, 7-7 American Athletic Conference) let Wichita State (20-5, 10-3 The American) claw at its lead in the second half en route to a 93-86 loss on Thursday at Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, Kansas. The loss ended Temple’s five-game winning streak.

The Owls positioned themselves with a comfortable 56-42 lead at the end of the first half off 11 made 3-pointers.

But Temple came out sluggish shooting the basketball and missed its first six field-goal attempts to open the second half.

The Shockers, meanwhile, went on a 17-3 run led by redshirt-senior center Shaquille Morris. He scored 11 of the 17 points.

After sophomore guard Austin Reaves missed a shot, Morris collected the miss, scored on a layup and got fouled by Enechionyia. Morris made the free throw to cut Wichita State’s deficit to seven points, 56-49, with 17 minutes, 52 seconds left in the second half.

Nearly 16 minutes later, Morris forced Enechionyia to foul out of the game on a similar play. Sophomore forward Zach Brown missed a 3-pointer, and Morris corralled the rebound. Enechionyia then fouled Morris on his way to the hoop for an and-one, which gave the Shockers a 84-81 lead with 1:54 remaining in the contest.

Morris finished with a double-double on 23 points and 13 rebounds. He shot 90 percent from the field and went 4-of-5 from the free-throw line. Morris had a combined 47 points and 22 rebounds in two games against Temple this season.

Shockers senior forward Darral Willis Jr. also shot well from the field. He made nine of his 11 attempts to score a game-high 24 points. Wichita State outscored Temple 36-8 in the paint.

Enechionyia opened the game with 11 of Temple’s first 13 points within the first six minutes of the game. Before he sunk a 3-pointer midway through the second half, Enechionyia hadn’t score a field goal since the 14:46 mark of the first half. He finished the night with 17 points on 4-of-7 shooting on 3-pointers, four rebounds and five fouls.

Perry scored a career-high 15 points, collected three rebounds and also fouled out within in the final two minutes of the game. He ended Temple’s scoring drought early in the second half with a pair of 3-pointers.

After the Owls made 11 attempts from beyond the arc in the first half, they only made five more in the second.

Three more Owls also scored in double-figures, including junior guard Shizz Alston Jr. for the sixth straight game. He poured in 15, sophomore guard Quinton Rose scored 16 and redshirt-senior guard Josh Brown had 13.

After not stealing a victory on the road against the Shockers, the Owls will have another chance to boost their NCAA Tournament resume this weekend. Temple entered the game against Wichita State placed in the “Next Four Out” portion of ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi’s latest projection.

Temple will host Houston (20-5, 10-3 The American) at 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Liacouras Center. The Cougars beat Cincinnati (23-3, 12-1 The American), the No. 5 ranked team in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, 67-62, on Friday in Houston. The Cougars and Wichita State are tied for second in The American by virtue of their identical conference records and a split in the season series.

Tom Ignudo
can be reached at thomas.ignudo@temple.edu Or you can follow Tom on Twitter @TomIgnudo Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews

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