Temple's Enechionyia stands tall in upset win over Florida State
NEW YORK -- Temple was at a severe size disadvantage against Florida State, but 6-foot-10 junior Obi Enechionyia had one of his best all-around games while combating the Seminoles frontcourt.
Enechionyia had 16 points, eight rebounds and a career high six blocked shots while playing all 40 minutes during Thursday's 89-86 win over Florida State in the NIT Season Tip-Off at the Barclays Center.
Temple, which overcame an 18-point second half deficit, will play West Virginia in Friday's 3 p.m. championship.
Enechionyia was being heavily defended but never forced the issue. He shot 7 for 13 from the field and 2 of 3 from beyond the arc, while committing just one turnover.
"I knew I had to play big and strong," Enechionyia said. "They have a lot of big guys and any time I was in there I was trying to grab a rebound, box out, and make sure I was on them and play as tough as possible."
To demonstrate the size for No. 25 Florida State (4-1), 7-1 graduate student Michael Ojo started at center. Among the reserves was 7-4 center Christ Koumadje. There was also 6-10 freshman Jonathan Isaac, who had 19 points and seven rebounds and 6-10 Jarquez Smith, who played 16 minutes off the bench.
Enechionyia's previous high for blocked shots was five against Miami in an NIT semifinal loss at Madison Square Garden during his freshman year. He opend this season with four blocked shots in a 97-92 overtime win over La Salle.
"I am always kind of a weakside shot blocker and anytime I see somebody go up on the weak side, I try to make an effort to block the shot," he said. "Today I think I had a couple of opportunities and it worked out."
Enechionyia, whose career high for minutes is 41 in last year's 66-65 overtime loss to St. Joseph's, admires the Owls' resiliency.
"We did a good job of coming back and we have done that the past few years," Enechionyia said. "Winning a game like this is a boost to our confidence."