OBI COMES UP BIG AS TEMPLE TRUMPS AUBURN 88-74!

By Ben Sullivan

Obi Enechionyia had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead Temple to an 88-74 win over Auburn in the Charleston Classic.

Temple (2-0) pulled away late from their Southeastern Conference opponent to move back into its second Charleston finals.

“It’s exciting,” Enechionyia said. “It’s like last year in the preseason NIT.”

That’s where Temple won the NIT Season Tip-Off event with an 81-77 victory over West Virginia in 2016. Temple coach Fran Dunphy hopes his team can channel those good experiences from last year this time around.

“Three games in four days, that’s a lot of basketball,” he said. “We need some rest.”

Temple (2-0) trailed the Tigers (2-1) on Jared Harper’s basket with 10:17 to go. Shizz Alston Jr. hit a 3-pointer to put the Owls back in front — the ball hit off the rim, bounded high in the air before falling through — and Enechionyia gave them the lead for good with a pair of foul shots moments later. Auburn made one last charge when Mustapha Heron’s 3 pulled the Tigers to 70-67. But Quinton Rosefollowed with a 3-pointer and Auburn never caught up.

Rose finished with 19 points off five 3-pointers. Alston had 18 points, 11 in the second half, for Temple.

Anfernee McLemore led Auburn with 19 points, but he also picked up a technical at a crucial juncture. His foul against Temple came from holding onto the rim for too long after a dunk and allowed Temple to quickly move back in front on Alston’s two foul shots when McLemore had tied things at 48-all.

McLemore said the players ran out of gas down the stretch. “We just have to stay focused,” he said. “We had mental lapses in the second half.”

It was Enechionyia’s first double-double of the season and fourth of his career.

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