Temple guard Jesse Morgan played a crucial part in the Owls’ success last season. After missing the first 10 games of the season due to transfer rules, Morgan injected a spark into the Owls offense, sending them on a six-game winning streak including a 77-52 upset over 10thranked Kansas.
When Morgan’s outside shot was working, the Owls were a dangerous team. In games where Morgan had four or more three’s the team had a perfect 8-0 record. Sitting in the stands just a few rows behind the Temple bench in Sunday’s 69-50 win over Delaware (2-2), Morgan watched as another Owl emerged from beyond the arc to propel the team to victory.
Sophomore forward Obi Enechionyia scored 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the outside in the Owls’ (2-3) convincing win over the Blue Hens.
“I want to be the shooter,” Enechionyia said. “Jesse Morgan was the shooter last year. This year I planned on trying to be the best shooter on the team. That’s really what I focused on in the offseason — to become more of a threat from the outside.”
Last season, Enechionyia shot 12 of 43 (28%) from beyond the arc. He’s shooting 9 of 19 (47%) so far in this young season.
“You wouldn’t believe me that the game plan was to not let him get any open threes,” Delaware coach Monte Ross said after the game. “He’s a player that I think is really coming into his own this season. I’ve seen him really raise up with a lot of confidence in the games I studied.
“Any time you can have a stretch-four that can consistently put pressure on the defense, he’s going to be really good for your team.”
The Owls had a scare in the first half when Enechionyia tweaked his right ankle, forcing him to sit for the rest of the half. It’s the same ankle which made him miss Temple’s season-opening loss to No.1 ranked North Carolina. He said the ankle was “almost at 100 percent” before the tweak and he’ll give it some rest before Wednesday’s game against Fairleigh Dickinson.
“He’s shooting [the ball] very, very well,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. “Now the next step is to be the best defender he can be. … Obi is a very valuable commodity for us. They really have to go out and guard him because he stretches the floor.”
Temple’s game Wednesday against the Knights will air at 8 p.m. on ESPN3.