ORLANDO, Fla. (TNS) — The first grudge match in Orlando has been won, and the Shockers are moving on in Orlando.
After splitting the regular-season series with Temple, No. 11 Wichita State won the third matchup 89-81 in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference on Friday at the Amway Center. The second-seeded Shockers (25-6) advance to play the winner of Houston-Central Florida in Saturday's semifinals at 2:30 p.m. on CBS.
Landry Shamet scored a team-high 24 points and tied the AAC record with six three-pointers to go along with four rebounds and four assists. Senior Rashard Kelly scored a career-high 16 points and added seven rebounds, while Austin Reaves added 13 points and Shaquille Morris had 10 points and eight rebounds.
The hot shooting of the Owls against WSU's defense continued, as they made 11 of 21 threes on Friday. In its three games against WSU, Temple made 36 threes and shot 47 percent from beyond the arc. In its other 29 games this season, Temple shot 34 percent on three-pointers .
Temple's Quinton Rose scored a game-high 25 points, while Josh Brown and Shizz Alston each added 15 points with a seven combined three-pointers.
The third meeting produced the same kind of dramatics as the games in Philadelphia and Wichita did, as Temple sliced WSU's 12-point lead with 4:38 remaining to a single possession, 78-75, with an 11-2 run capped by a three-point play by JP Moorman with 2:23 remaining.
Rashard Kelly, a 52-percent free throw shooter in AAC play, made both free throws with 2:12 remaining to tie his career-high of 15 points. WSU produced two straight defensive stops, and Austin Reaves and Shaquille Morris made free throws to extend the lead to 84-75 with 58 seconds left.
WSU took the lead in the game's 14 seconds and never relinquished it after Gregg Marshall opened with a slick set that had Shamet back screen for Kelly to set up an alley-oop between Morris and Kelly for the basket. Temple drew to within a point several times, but never took the lead or even tied the score.
It was apparent early on that Shamet was dialed into the game, as he drained his first three shots from beyond the arc in the opening five minutes to stake WSU to a 12-6 lead.
Morris struggled to establish himself inside in the first half, as he finished 0 for 4 with no points in the first 20 minutes. But WSU's offense didn't drop off because of the aggression of Kelly, who capped a 6-0 spurt midway through the first half with a dunk in transition to give WSU a 21-13 lead.
A layup by Kelly minutes later gave WSU its biggest lead of the first half, 25-16, with 9:32 remaining. But the Owls once again proved a tough foe to put away for WSU, sticking around with a barrage of three-pointers.
Temple closed to within 27-26, but Shamet responded with another three and Conner Frankamp drained a mid-range jumper. Temple again rallied, this time to 37-36, but Shamet made his fifth three-pointer of the half to beat the halftime buzzer to extend WSU's lead to 42-36 going into the locker rooms.
When Temple rallied to cut WSU's lead to 44-43 early in the second half, WSU responded with a three-point play by Morris followed by a Shamet three. Minutes later Morris gave WSU its first double-digit lead of the game, 55-45, with a pair of free throws with 13:43 remaining. But the Owls answered back with a 10-2 run to trim the deficit to two points.
With the pro-WSU crowd feeling anxious, the momentum shifted when Reaves snapped out of his shooting slump to connect on a three-pointer (his first in three games and his last 10 attempts). On the next possession, Shaquille Morris jumped a ball screen, came up with a steal, and started a fast break that ended with Markis McDuffie dunking it ferociously on the other end.
Shamet scored on a lay-up inside, a pick-and-roll resulted in Zach Brown open for a three, then a pair of free throws by Reaves established WSU's largest lead of the game, 76-64, with 4:38 remaining.