“It means everything,” Shizz Alston Jr. explained with a perky smile across his face. “Watching Temple greats play… and being a part of that club means a lot.”
Alston has made a huge impact on his teammates as a leader, both on and off the floor. In the Temple Owls’ 81-77 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs, he helped to facilitate the offense and keep his teammates aggressive the whole way.
“I think we’re putting our conference and Temple University on the map,” said Alston Jr.
Alston Jr. was joined by fellow guard Quinton Rose as the game’s leading scorer with 25 points each, with Alston Jr. shooting at a strong 50% from the field.
Alston had a huge surge of confidence after trading a couple of three-pointers on four-straight possessions with Georgia junior, Tyree Crump. Crump finished the night with a torching 16 points, shooting 6-for-8.
Entering Tuesday night’s battle, the Bulldogs had a major size advantage and proved to be a matchup nightmare for a majority of the game. Georgia senior Derek Okbeide posted a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Okbeide ultimately missed the shot that mattered most: a potential game-tying two on a Hakeem “The Dream” shake into a fadeaway jumper that knocked the back of the rim.
Temple’s offense, after a slow start shooting from the field, held a solid lead for the majority of the night. The Bulldogs stormed back in the final minutes, but a string of clutch possessions helped the Owls walk away with a win.
No possession was more important than when Quinton Rose eyed down Rayshaun Hammonds at the perimeter before giving him an in-and-out spin move that led to a clutch teardrop floater from the baseline to put the Owls up by two.
“I thought we did a good job of driving on them,” Owls coach Fran Dunphy said. Although Georgia’s big men were fearless in the post, Temple guards found creative ways to move the ball and penetrate the lane.
It was by no means an easy victory, but the Owls stayed focused and executed when it mattered to seal the victory at home and push their record to 3-0.
WHIP Player of the Game
Alani Moore II was a huge spark plug for the Owls early at both ends of the floor. Temple had a shaky start. The team was having trouble finding the bottom of the net in the opening minutes of the game and was lucky to keep within striking distance. Moore hit two huge three-pointers and drew a charge that swung the momentum in the direction of the home team. He tallied 8 first-half points with a +/- rating of 8. Although he cooled off a bit in the second half, Moore made a huge difference early in the game that set the tone for the rest of the team. He’s shown to be an important player who has embraced his role as the sixth man.
Photo: Irish Haines