Temple holds NIT Preseason Tip-Off trophy aloft after holding off West Virginia in Friday's championship game. (Photo by Ray Floriani/Daly Dose Of Hoops)
By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)
BROOKLYN, NY - In a wild affair that saw a 20-point lead dissipate, Temple pulled out a game not decided until the final possession. The Owls defeated West Virginia, 81-77, to capture the NIT Preseason Tip-Off at Barclays Center.
West Virginia trailed 45-25 at intermission before storming back the final twenty minutes. Bob Huggins’ club gained a late lead, but failed to sustain. Down three with seconds left, a last attempt from three-point range was blocked and the Owls emerged victorious.
The numbers of note:
Possessions: Temple 72, West Virginia 72
Offensive efficiency: Temple 113, West Virginia 107
eFG: Temple 58, West Virginia 49
Free Throw Rate: Temple 37, West Virginia 27
Offensive Rebound%: Temple 36, West Virginia 47
Turnover Rate: Temple 26, West Virginia 22
Leading scorers and EF:
Temple - Obi Enechionyia 22 points, EF 40 (1.05 per minute)
West Virginia - Esa Ahmad 19 points, EF 28
What Temple did well: Simply, weather the run to pull this out. West Virginia trailed by 20 at the half, stormed back to take the lead. The Owls regrouped, regained the lead and held on.
What West Virginia did well: Besides coming back from that huge halftime deficit, the Mountaineers pounded the boards with a 20-10 advantage in raw offensive rebound numbers.
Most Outstanding Player: Obi Enechionyia, Temple
Malcolm Hill (Illinois)
Dwayne Bacon (Florida State)
Esa Ahmad (West Virginia)
Daniel Dingle (Temple)
Defensive charting: Breaking down the first four minutes from Temple, defensive perspective told us this game was not over. West Virginia on offense had eight possessions. They were fouled four times, shooting 4-of-7). West Virginia knocked down a three and extended half the possessions, grabbing four offensive boards. The 45-25 halftime lead was now 51-38, a lot more in reach for the Mountaineers.
West Virginia won the first four minutes, 13-6, with an offensive efficiency of 163 over that stretch. Of greater significance, getting to the line and getting work done on the glass were signs they were not about to call it an afternoon.
“I wasn’t worried. I knew I had to buckle down. I wasn’t as focused as I should have been, but after that, maintained my focus. It’s an accomplishment beating two ranked teams. Knowing we can beat anyone is the key. We had a lot of fans here and the band and cheerleaders made the trip. We really appreciate the support.” - Obi Enechionyia on the lead dwindling
“That is an aggressive team on both ends of the court. Great couple of days for us. Unlikely we would come back from how far we were down yesterday, and today we knew they would make a run and our guys really responded.” - Temple coach Fran Dunphy
“We didn’t talk about fouling, just about switching everything. I thought we closed on West Virginia very quickly . Once again, did not talk about fouling.” - Dunphy on West Virginia’s last possession trailing by three
“Sometimes it’s just better to play through things, not call a timeout everytime they are making a run. - Dunphy on stopping the run
“Obi stepped up tremendously, 12 rebounds and five blocks. They don’t let you run the best offense, so it was difficult to run things for him.” - Dunphy on Obi Enechionyia