The Temple Owls played their second overtime game of the season, holding off the Wichita State Shockers in the third-place game of the 5-Hour Energy Puerto Rico Tip-Off to win, 78-64. The Owls got double-figure scoring from four players to defeat the Shockers, who returned five of their top six scorers from their 2011 NIT Champions squad.
Temple (3-1) came out hot in the extra period, getting five points from Ramone Moore as part of a 7-0 run that ended with a layup and-one from the senior guard, who scored 23 to lead the Owls. That run, which put Temple up 71-64, looked like it would be the game-ender for Fran Dunphy’s squad.
Wichita State (2-2) wasn’t done, however, forcing two Temple turnovers in the final two minutes of overtime. They could never close the gap, going just two-of-eight from the field down the stretch, including a meaningless layup at the end for the final margin.
Toure’ Murry, a senior guard from Houston, had his third straight impressive game for the Shockers. After scoring 17 against Colorado and 21 against Alabama, he dropped a game-high 24 points on the Owls.
The Owl defense clamped down on the Shocker peremeter game, holding Wichita State to just four-of-18 shooting (.222) from beyond the arc. The Shockers had been shooting 40 percent from deep in their first three games. Temple shot seven-of-18 (.389) from three, including a four-of-eight performance from Juan Fernandez.
While Moore keyed the run that put Temple ahead for good, it was Khalif Wyatt who hit the deciding shot in the game, a three-pointer with 2:08 to go that put Temple up 74-66. Wyatt had 13 points and was one of four Temple starters to play 40+ minutes. Michael Eric had his second double-double of the tournament for Temple, picking up 14 points and 12 rebounds in 28 minutes.
Eric got in foul trouble for the second game in a row against Wichita State, picking up two fouls and going to the bench for the final 13:44 of the first half. Eric and Khalif Wyatt both hit the bench again with 9:43 remaining in the game with three fouls and Temple holding onto a three-point lead.
Eric picked up his fourth foul with 4:35 in regulation, but managed to stay foul-free for the rest of the game, playing a key role in Temple’s ability to alter shots down the stretch and keep the Shockers out of the paint. Wichita State center Garrett Stutz took advantage of Eric’s foul trouble, picking up 13 points and 14 rebounds in 40 minutes.
With eight minutes remaining in the game, Moore and Anthony Lee were also at three fouls, though Temple continued to build a lead. Tough interior defense by Lee and Hollis-Jefferson stopped the Shockers on five straight possession, and the Owls went on a 7-0 run to go up 54-46 with 6:59 to play.
Wichita State then went on a 9-1 run of their own, keyed by freshman Tekele Cotton, a 6’2” guard from Smyrna, Georgia. Cotton hit a three-pointer and a driving layup, though he missed a free-throw that would have put the Shockers ahead.
The Shockers actually had control for the final few minutes, getting a David Kyles three-pointer and Murry jumper to go up 64-61 before Juan Fernandez hit from distance, the most crucial of his 15 points.
Following a missed Murry three-pointer with seconds to play, Temple had a good look to win the game. Wyatt had an open shot from three-point range that clanged off the rim, and the regulation buzzer sounded as the ball fell back to the court.
Temple’s next game is at Bowling Green State University on Sunday, November 27 at 2pm.
Josh Verlin is the college sports editor for BuzzOnBroad.com. Follow him on Twitter