‘Now’s the time’ for Shocker seniors to take it up a notch


Matt Crow

Wichita State guard Samajae Haynes-Jones looks past a UConn defender Saturday in Koch Arena.

With only six regular-season games remaining in the season, Head Coach Gregg Marshall thinks there’s no better time for the six Shocker seniors to take their game up another notch.

“I write on the board the remaining schedule, how many days that is, how many weeks that is. One of these days, they’re going to say, unless we win the national championship, they’re going to say, ‘I wish we could have done a little more,’” Marshall said. “Now’s the time. Don’t lament that later on in life.”

The Shockers have the opportunity to do so by getting revenge on Thursday. No. 19 Wichita State will attempt to get their first win over Temple.

Temple leads the series 4-0, 2-0 in Wichita. Thursday will be the team’s first visit to Wichita since December of 1985.

Most recently, The Owls handed the Shockers a two-point overtime loss on the road at the beginning of February.

“You’re always motivated to play a good team, and they’re obviously a very good team. They snatched the victory from us, and they made the plays,” Marshall said.  “This time they come here, and they’re still trying to get into the NCAA Tournament, as are we. It should be a great game.”

Temple is 15-10 overall and 7-6 in the conference. The Owls are currently on a five game win streak most recently blowing out USF 73-55.

The Owls’ backcourt of Quinton Rose and Shizz Alston continues to be the most productive part of the team.

Rose has had eight games with 20+ games and is coming off of two consecutive 20+ point games. Rose averages 14.9 points per game, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game.

Alston averages 13.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, and three assists per game. He most recently dropped 19 points at USF after hitting 3-5 from deep.

Temple’s forward Obi Enechionyia and senior center Shaquille Morris are tied for first in The American for blocks per game (1.6). Enechionyia also averages 11.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

The Owls average 69.8 points per game with a +1 scoring margin. They average 34.7 rebounds with a -3.4 margin. Temple has the second-best three-point defense percentage. They have been able to hold opponents to just under 31 percent for the season.

On the other hand, the Shockers lead The American in threes per game averaging 9.5 with an average of .389.

Wichita State has a +14.2 scoring margin averaging 83.8 points per game with a +10.7 rebounding margin averaging 41.9 rebounds per game.

Marshall thinks the 2017-18 team is one of the better shooting teams he has coached.

“They’re just talented players. We’ve got a lot of good shooters. This is one of our better shooting teams,” Marshall said. “We can put a lot of weapons on the court at the same time, and they’re unselfish. I think that’s the combination.”

Wichita State has not been swept in a regular-season series since Evansville defeated them twice in the 2012-13 season.

Tipoff is at 6 p.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPN2.