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Shizz Alston leads late rally for Temple to knock off Wichita State on road

Alston scored 22 points and made the game’s biggest shots.

Shizz Alston shown during a December 2018 game.
Shizz Alston shown during a December 2018 game.Read moreCHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer (custom credit) / CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer

WICHITA, Kan. -- Shizz Alston Jr. was quiet early, but was clutch when it counted and delivered the winning shots Temple needed to overcome a double-digit deficit and escape Koch Arena with an 85-81 overtime victory over Wichita State on Sunday afternoon.

Alston, Nate Pierre-Louis and Quinton Rose combined for 60 points and Temple erased an 11-point deficit with 3 minutes, 35 seconds remaining in regulation with an 11-0 run, then outscored WSU, 11-7, in overtime.

Alston hit the game-tying shot in regulation, then back-to-back jumpers and a pair of free throws in overtime to finish WSU. The win salvages the road trip for Temple (11-3) to open up play in the American Athletic Conference, while WSU (7-7) is 0-2 in conference play for the first time since 2009.

“We’re fighters,” Alston said. “We always know we have a fighting chance to win at the end. My teammates give me the confidence because I know they’re counting on me to make the big shot at the end of the game. I’ve been doing it all year, so I’m comfortable.”

Alston’s floater in the lane with 37 seconds remaining in regulation capped an 11-0 run by Temple to tie WSU with the Owls scoring seven of those points following WSU turnovers.

Temple forced WSU into a season-high 22 turnovers. Quinton Rose finished with five steals on top of 17 points. Pierre-Louis picked two WSU ball-handlers and finished with dunks on the other end.

In overtime, Temple took its first lead of the game, 78-76, on a Pierre-Louis basket with 2:39 remaining. That’s when Alston took over.

He hit a step-back jumper to push Temple’s lead to 80-77 with 2:09 left, then after WSU scored, Alston danced around and hit a step-back dagger, a three-pointer as the shot clock expired to give the Owls an 83-79 lead with 52 seconds remaining. He then made two free throws in the final minute to clinch the game.

“There was a lot of good fortune involved in that, but if you want anyone with the ball at that point, you want Shizz with it,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. “He takes care of a lot of unknowns out there.The crowd here is so spectacular that it makes it difficult to tell your team to run any kind of offense. You trust [Alston] and he’s that good.”

Temple trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half, but was able to rally to tie the score four times midway through the second half. WSU reeled off an 11-0 spurt for a 74-61 lead with 3:35 remaining, but Temple answered back with an 11-0 run of its own to end regulation.

Rose made two floaters. J.P. Moorman delivered a crucial corner three. Pierre-Louis made a pair of free throws, then Alston made his game-tying shot. Temple ended regulation with five straight defensive stops to hand WSU just its fifth loss at Koch Arena in the last six seasons.

“This is a tough one for us to stomach,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. “This is one we let get away multiple times. Temple is fighting for an at-large bid, so obviously they needed that one.”