By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Temple Owls will face a big challenge on Thursday night when they welcome #16 Wichita State to the Liacouras Center for an American Athletic Conference battle.

The Owls are 11-10 (3-6 AAC) and coming off one of their top performances of the season. On Sunday, the Owls hammered visiting UConn, 85-57.

“We made a lot of shots and I thought we defended very well,” Temple head coach Fran Dunphy tells KYW Newsradio. “UConn was without a couple of their players, a kid named Terry Larrier who had spent a little bit of time in Philadelphia as a high schooler and another kid, Alterique Gilbert, who’s out. But otherwise we played well, which is always the job at hand and I thought we did our work and now we are graced with another phenomenal opportunity here with Wichita State who is a terrific team.”

 

Temple has won four of six since a five-game losing streak midseason. So have the Owls found their rhythm?

“I think you hope so,” Dunphy says. “That’s always the task at hand to try to get better as the year goes on. I think our rotation is a little bit different. Obviously we’re playing three freshmen a lot and the fourth freshman probably deserves to play just as much. So I think we’re in a groove that way in terms of who we are playing and the way we want to play. Obviously, we had a difficult loss at Cincinnati [75-42 on January 24th], but I think we’re getting better and that’s always the job.”

Wichita State will bring a 17-4 record into Thursday night’s game. The Shockers are 7-2 in AAC play.

“They are very efficient offensively,” Dunphy says. “They are at the top of our league in just about every category offensively and that’s a job that we’re really going to have to really pay attention to. They play very, very good defense, too. The other thing is, they are deep. They’re deep and they’re experienced. They have six seniors who they play a lot.”

Temple is 3-0 against Wichita State all-time. This will be the first meeting between the two programs since the Shockers joined the conference.

Thursday’s game will tip at 7:00pm.