If there’s any consolation to pull from Temple’s (1-1) embarrassing 57-52 loss to New Hampshire (2-0) on Monday night at the Liacouras Center, it’s the play of Obi Enechionyia.
On a night where his teammates shot a combined 12 of 49 (24 percent) from the floor, Enechionyia kept the Owls in the game with 20 points on 8 of 17 (47 percent) shooting as well as seven rebounds and two blocks. Through two games, Enechionyia is averaging an impressive 20 points, 10.5 rebounds and three blocks per game, all which rank top 10 in the American Conference.
“I think now we know what it feels like to lose and what it feels like to win,” Enechionyia said. “Going into the next practice, I want everyone to remember what it feels like and just go into practice with a different type of energy so this doesn’t happen again.”
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Enechionyia is the player that Temple coach Fran Dunphy has put the most stock in throughout the offseason. So far he’s been the leader of this young Owls team that is still searching for the best way to fly.
Due to injuries to starting point guard Josh Brown and small forward Trey Lowe, Dunphy has gone to freshman point guard Alani Moore and small forward Quinton Rose to try and fill some of the void that the pair has left.
After stellar debuts from both Moore (eight points and two rebounds) and Rose (12 points and three rebounds) against La Salle on Friday, the pair fell back down to earth against New Hampshire. Moore scored just three points on 1 of 6 shooting, and failed to record an assist. Rose tallied five points and seven rebounds, but had a costly turnover when the Owls were looking to regain the lead with just 1:04 remaining in the game.
“They’re learning on the fly,” Dunphy said of the freshman. “A game like this will help them greatly watching the film. You’d like to have them be helped greatly in a winning situation … but I think they’re doing as good as they can. We have a long season ahead of us.”
Three-point shooting especially hurt the Owls. They shot just 6 of 27 in the contest and sophomore Levan Alston Jr. shot just 1 of 10 from the outside, including three down the stretch. Senior Daniel Dingle, who shot a team best 3 of 7 from three in the game, isn’t too worried about the team’s struggles and thinks that things will start clicking soon enough.
“[They] just have to stay positive, at the end-of-game situations, and I’m [putting] trust in my young guys,” Dingle said. “[Levan] Alston, eventually he’s going to make that shot next time he shoots it. Quinton Rose, next time he gets to the basket, he’s not going to get stripped. He’s going to finish that.”
The Owls will head to UMass to face the Minutemen on Thursday. The game will air at 7 p.m. on TCN.