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Shockers Finish Off Temple

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By Wichita State Athletics

 

PHILADELPHIA, PA (goshockers.com)- Jaykwon Walton scored a game-high 21 points and a Wichita State team that has had difficulty closing out opponents slammed the door on Temple for a 79-65 victory Thursday night at the Liacouras Center.

Walton and Craig Porter Jr. combined for 18 points during a 21-3 Shocker run to finish the game.

It was the fourth consecutive road win for WSU (14-12, 7-7) which moved to .500 in league play for the first time after an 0-3 start.

It was also the Shockers’ first Liacouras Center victory, albeit on just their third try, due to a combination of unbalanced schedules and COVID-19. Nationally-ranked WSU teams fell in 2018 and 2020.

Temple (14-13, 8-6) used a 13-0 run to forge ahead 62-58 at the 6:23-mark of the second half but missed eight straight nine of its last 10 shots.

The Shockers scored the next 15 points to take control.

Walton made 5-of-7 threes on the night to post his second straight 20-point performance and sixth overall this year.

James Rojas secured his third double-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and five steals.

Porter finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists with just one turnover.

Porter missed long stretches after picking up three first-half fouls but made his presence felt in crunch time. His triple from the top of the key put WSU in front for good with 4:32 to play. He lobbed to Pohto for a dunk on the next trip down, then nailed another step-back three and short jumper in the lane to put the Shockers in driver’s seat.

The Shockers shot 46.6% for the night and made 10-of-26 threes (.385). They posted their best rebounding margin of the year (42-26) and limited the Owls to just 18 points in the paint.

Temple was better from beyond the arc (10-of-24, .417) than inside it (13-of-32, .406).

The first half featured nine lead changes before the Shockers finally took control. They outscored the hosts 13-2 over the final 3:31 to bring a 41-33 lead into the locker room.

The teams traded more runs in the second half.

Temple used a 7-0 spurt to draw even with 14:50 to play.

Xavier Bell was the catalyst in an 11-2 Shocker counterpunch. The Drexel transfer scored seven points in just under two minutes to help WSU rebuild its lead to 58-49 near the midway point of the half.

The Shockers went scoreless over the next four minutes, and Temple capitalized with 13 straight tallies, capped by a pair of Damian Dunn treys. The last made it a 62-58 game with 6:23 to play.


NOTABLE:

WSU held Temple guard Khalif Battle scoreless on just four shots. He entered the night as the American Athletic Conference’s fourth-leading scorer (18.4 ppg) but clocked just 17 minutes off the bench.

The Shockers upped their road record to 6-3 (5-2 in conference play).

WSU’s victory evened the all-time series with Temple at 6-6. The Shockers have now taken six of the nine AAC era games. This was the first since February, 2021, after last seasons’s lone matchup was called off due to health and safety protocol.


UP NEXT:

The Shockers are off this weekend before returning to the hardwood Thursday night against the Memphis Tigers (6 p.m. CT, ESPN2). Seats are available for purchase online at goshockers.com/tickets, by phone at 316-978-3267 or in person at the Shocker Ticket Office, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. inside Charles Koch Arena.

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