After tourney win, Temple next faces La Salle

OWLS12P
Shizz Alston has shot well from three-point range for the Owls.

The Temple Owls were the last Division I basketball team to play a game this season, but when they did, they were ready to go. Temple went 3-0 in winning the Gildan Charleston (S.C.) Classic, capped by Sunday’s 67-60 championship victory over Clemson.

Now, in another quirk in the schedule, the Owls were given a week off before returning to action for Sunday’s Big Five game at La Salle at 5 p.m.

The big takeaway from the wins in South Carolina was Temple’s three-point shooting. The Owls hit 10 threes in each of the three games and are 30 for 73 (41.1 percent) from beyond the arc. Temple also scored wins over Old Dominion and Auburn in the tournament.

Junior guard Shizz Alston, Temple’s leading scorer in each game, averaged 18.3 points and shot 9 for 16 (56.3 percent) on threes. Last season, Alston shot 34.5 percent from beyond the arc.

“I am trying to get more threes attempted and shoot at a higher percentage,” Alston said earlier this week.

The Owls said they received a boost from their tournament title, but the players and coaches didn’t dwell on it too long, opting to prepare for La Salle.

For somebody who grew up in the area and whose father, Levan, played for Temple,  Alston considers Big Five a big deal.

“It means everything to me,” Alston said. “I have been watching ever since I was three years old, and it means a lot to me.”

Also for Temple, 6-foot-8 sophomore Quinton Rose averages 16.3 points and 6-10 Obi Enechionyia, who was the MVP of the Charleston Classic, is averaging 15.7 points and 7.7 rebounds.

Last year, both Temple and La Salle opened their season against one another and Temple earned a 97-92 overtime win at the Liacouras Center.

La Salle is coming off Wednesday’s 57-46 loss to No. 11 Miami at Santander Arena in Reading; the game was played there because Hurricanes freshman Lonnie Walker, who had led Reading High to a state title last season. The Explorers have lost three in a row but against quality teams: Northwestern, Boston College and Miami.

Against Miami, La Salle failed to connect on a three-pointer for the first time since March 6, 1989 against St. Peter’s. That was a span of 843 games. La Salle shot 0 for 15 from beyond the arc.

Senior forward B.J. Johnson had 16 points and a career-high 16 rebounds against Miami. The 6-foot-7 graduate of Lower Merion is averaging 21.7 points and 10.7 points in 38 minutes. Guard Pookie Powell averages 14.3 points and 2.7 assists in 37.7 minutes.