When Josh Brown hit the winning shot with 2.4 seconds left in Temple's 61-60 win at Memphis on Feb. 7, teammate Obi Enechionyia was so excited that his first instinct was to run onto the court.
Of course, Enechionyia soon realized that running with a boot on his foot wouldn't be practical, so he let the celebration come to him.
That was the first of three games that Enechionyia missed with a sprained right ankle.
He has provided the Owls with a major spark and could be a difference maker when the teams reunite. The fourth-seeded Owls face fifth-seeded Memphis in Friday's 2 p.m. American Athletic Conference quarterfinal at the XL Center in Hartford.
In this rematch, Temple appears to have an edge, since Enechionyia will be on the court and the Tigers will be without first-team all-conference forward Austin Nichols, who has an ankle injury.
A 6-foot-9 forward from Springfield, Va., Enechionyia is the lone freshman on Temple's team. He was playing well in a reserve role before spraining his ankle in practice. Now, he is rounding back into form.
Against Memphis, Temple trailed by as many as 16 points late in the first half before beginning its comeback.
"It was tough watching my team, struggling early in that game," Enechionyia said. "I wanted to be out there so bad to help my team."
In Saturday's key 75-63 win over Connecticut at the Liacouras Center, Enechionyia had nine points and five rebounds in 23 effective minutes off the bench.
Enechionyia can be a threat from inside or from the perimeter. He is shooting 30.6 percent from beyond the arc (11 for 36), which he looks to improve on, but his real value is inside.
Against UConn, the sellout crowd exploded when Enechionyia scored on an emphatic follow jam.
"It felt great to be able to help the team, and the atmosphere, with all the fans there, was great," he said.
Enecheionyia is averaging 17.9 minutes, 4.8 points, and 3.5 rebounds, and has earned the respect of the veterans.
"He has exceeded my expectations and is doing a great job on and off the court," said point guard Will Cummings. "He is providing us with a lot of rebounding, blocked shots, and even scoring at times."
After 28 games, Enechionyia isn't viewed by his teammates as a freshman anymore.
"We are looking for him to step up even more this post season and help us get wins," Cummings said.
Enechionyia said his ankle is no longer an issue, and he is 100 percent.
"I am looking forward to playing Memphis," he said. "I want to be able to help my team and make a difference."
And this time if the Owls win, he will be ready to join the celebration on the court.