Wichita State takes down Temple in a nail biting finish
(PHILADELPHIA, PA) In a game that was determined by officiating, Khalif Battle missed the go ahead three to send the game into overtime, resulting in a 70-67 win for the Shockers.
After having a terrible shooting first half, shooting 27% from the field and 11% from three, through aggressive defense and high energy, Temple was able to stay in this game. Damian Dunn, the team's leading scorer, finished the night with 22 points, shooting a perfect 12-12 from the charity stripe.
The Wichita State star Tyson Etienne ended with 20 points on 50% shooting, along with five assists. The Owls did a good job of keeping the ball out of his hands, but his clutch free throws and long range accuracy makes him a threat with or without the ball. Three other starters along with Tyson finished in the double digit points column, all shooting the ball efficiently.
In a game of runs, Wichita seemed to have the experience and chemistry to control the final five minutes. Along with the experience, the refs had some interesting calls in the last two minutes of the game. The main one was a charging foul on senior J.P. Moorman, which led to a bucket on the other end for the Shockers. The broadcasters, along with all basketball fans could tell it was a flop, and especially in the final couple minutes, a call like that turned out to be crucial to the outcome of the game.
When Coach McKie was asked about his thoughts on the call, he explained, “You know, when it's late in the game like that, ah, you know, just like let them play. Let's not decide the game on a call like that. But, they made the call, we obviously have to honor it, so it is what it is.”
With Temple down three with 15 seconds left, they relied on freshman Damian Dunn to get them a bucket. Instead of driving in for a quick two, which he did the last play, (and resulted in an and-1) Damian settled for a contested three. The shot bounced off the right side of the rim, and left all ten guys scrambling for the rebound. The ball ended up bouncing out of bounds with .6 seconds left, and Khalif Battle shot a contested three to tie, which he missed off the glass. Although it was a crazy finish, it would've been interesting to see how the game played out without that change of possession, and allowing Temple to possibly take the lead and gain motivation going into the last 30 seconds.
Khalif Battle struggled from the field once again, shooting 2-14 from the field and 0-6 from outside the arc. One factor of his game was even while being that aggressive offensively, he didn’t get to the free throw line once. Hopefully he can start drawing some more contact like his teammate Damian Dunn, and even when he's not shooting well he can gain some confidence back at the line.
Big man Jake Forrester went out with a slight injury in the middle of the second, and even when he returned to the game looked to be in a lot of pain. It looked to be something around him getting elbowed in the side, and hopefully he will be good to go for next game. Before the injury, he looked like his dominant self, finishing with 11 points and six rebounds in just 23 minutes of play.
The progression of this young Temple team throughout the season has become visible. Damian Dunn after the game explained how he was proud of the team's execution during the last two minutes of the game. “I think it all just stems from going through what we went through in the last game. Coming into this game we all had that chip on our shoulder and made sure we executed all our stuff down the stretch.” Everyone who was in the final rotation apart from J.P. Moorman has only been a part of the Owls for this season, so close losses like these past two games will only motivate them to get better.
Temple is looking to take on ECU this Thursday at noon. Following three losses, Temple will need to share the ball and trust one another if they are going to get an in conference win this week.