The Temple Owls pulled off back to back upsets on route to winning the 2016 NIT Season Tip Off Championship. After knocking off 25th ranked Florida State in stunning fashion, Temple handed #19 West Virginia it’s first loss of the season (81-77).
Temple had a 20-point lead at the half , but give West Virginia credit for coming all the way back in the second half. The game was up for grabs down the stretch but Temple remain composed when it mattered most.
“It’s a confidence boost,” Enechionyia said Friday after he had 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead Temple to an 81-77 upset of No. 19 West Virginia in the championship game.
“We beat two ranked teams this weekend. Any time you can do that, it’s huge for a team,” Enechionyia added. “Knowing that we can beat anyone, I think that’s big for us.”
Enechionyia was named the Most Outstanding Player of the two-day tournament.
Alain Moore II added 18 points for the Owls, while Daniel Dingle finished with 15 and Quinton Rose 12.
Esa Ahmad had 19 points for West Virginia (4-1) while Teyvon Myers added 15 and Nathan Adrian and Tarik Phillip had 13 apiece.
Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins’ critique of his team’s performance was laced with frustration.
“We didn’t guard,” Huggins said. “We didn’t guard the way we’re capable of guarding. Our help defense was atrocious. We fouled too much. We didn’t make free throws. We missed open shots. We missed 17 layups. Seventeen point-blank shots. We shot 61 percent from the free throw line. We work our butt off to try to get people to turn it over. They turn it over 19 times and we give it back to them 16.”