WRITTEN BY: TOM HANSLIN @tomhanslin
For the first time in this millennium, Temple basketball left St. Joseph’s campus on a high note.
Behind a tied season-high 26 points from forward Obi Enechionyia, the Owls defeated the Hawks at Hagan Arena for the first time since 1999, pulling away late for a 78-72 Big Five win on Wednesday night.
It was Temple’s (5-2) fourth straight victory, and first since upsetting both nationally ranked Florida State and West Virginia at the NIT Tip-Off in Brooklyn last week.
With Temple leading by one, 73-72 with 95 seconds left, a three-point shot from Enechionyia on the left wing rimmed in and out, but Owls’ guard Daniel Dingle grabbed the rebound, adding a tip-in to increase Temple’s lead to three. On the ensuing possession, the Owls gained some breathing room, as Enechionyia responded with a blocked shot and a made three pointer in transition to place the score at 78-72.
In 40 minutes, Enechionyia made 10-of-20 baskets, six from behind the arc which places his three-point field goal percentage at 56-percent in the first seven games.
Hawks’ junior guard Shavar Newkirk, who entered the game averaging 21.8 points, finished with 22 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
St. Joseph’s opened the first half on a hot start, leading 11-2 after the first five minutes. But Temple quickly responded with a 14-4 run of its own to knot the score at 16-16 midway through the half. With 16 points from Enechionyia in 20 minutes, the Owls hit halftime with a 34-31 lead.
Temple senior guard Josh Brown, who tore his Achilles tendon in an offseason workout in May, made his season debut, scoring four points with two rebounds in 14 minutes.
Big Five play continues at the Liacouras Center on Saturday afternoon, as Temple hosts Penn at 4 p.m.