Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Posted: 9:03 p.m. Updated: 10:20 p.m.
By Dave Zangaro
As quickly as Temple built a huge halftime lead, it watched it all but disappear.Fordham outscored Temple by 15 in the first six minutes of the second half and cut the lead to just three after the Owls went into halftime with an 18-point advantage.Following the Rams run, the Owls scored the next nine points and No. 24 Temple was able to hold on for the 77-66 win in an Atlantic 10 battle in its first game since returning to the AP Top 25After shooting 42.9 percent from the field in the first half, Temple shot a frigid 24.2 percent in the second, while Fordham made 51.7 percent of its second-half shots. We missed shots, they made shots, but I think we relied on what the score was at the half, said forward Scootie Randall. I think they dont have nothing to lose, so they're just going to come out here and play every possession.With the win, Temple improved to 18-5 overall and 8-2 in the A-10. Fordham dropped to 6-16 overall and 0-10 in the A-10. The Owls have now won their last 19 games at the Liacouras Center and have won all 11 contests played on their home court this season. The Owls led by as much as 25 points in the first half, but with 13:17 remaining in the second, their lead was 53-50.The Rams had all the momentum, but one play turned it back in the other direction. With just over 10 minutes remaining, Ramone Moore found Randall for an easy layup, which sparked a 9-0 run for the Owls. I think that play was big for our team because we werent doing so good coming out in the second half, so I think that play right there made a statement that we were ready to go, Randall said. "I think it helped our team a lot and gave us a boost.Moore led the Owls with 22 points on 7-for17 shooting and Randall chipped in 12 on 4-for-14 shooting. Chris Gaston paced the Rams with 27.Temple senior Lavoy Allen finished with seven points and 14 rebounds 10 offensive and is now only 17 rebounds shy of setting the all-time Temple mark. Allen, however, had to leave the game with just under 4 minutes remaining after twisting his left ankle while going after a loose ball.Coach Fran Dunphy called it a sprain and said the severity of the injury and Allens playing status for Saturdays game at Dayton (17-7, 5-4) is unknown. Hopefully he can play Saturday we need him, Moore said. But if he cant were just going to have to go without him unfortunately. It was actually a turnover early in the second half only 18 seconds in by Allen that Dunphy pointed to as the momentary turning point.The turnover says Were going to be OK if I turn this ball over, and its a message we cant afford to send, he said.
While the Owls spent most of the second half in damage-control mode, the first half was a breeze.Early on, Fordham couldnt find a way to stop the Temple offense. At the 7:39 mark in the first half, Temples Rahlir Jefferson was driving to the basket one-on-one, when he was pushed by Fordhams Alberto Estwick. It was called an intentional foul. Jefferson hit both free throws.Jeffersons free throws came on the tail end of a four-minute span where Temple held the Rams scoreless. In that span the Owls outscored their opponent 16-0 and led the Rams 47-29 at the half. They came out playing zone so there was a lot of open jump shots. We did a great job of moving the ball and getting open shots for each other, said Moore, who had 14 of his 22 at the half.Forward Micheal Eric started the game and scored 12 points in the first half in 16 minutes, but in the second half saw only four minutes of action and Jefferson took the bulk of the minutes. Dunphy said he wanted to matchup with the speed of Fordham better. Rahlir gave us more energy, getting to spots faster, Dunphy said. I thought Rahlir played very well.Guard Juan Fernandez started his third straight game after missing four of his previous eight with a bone bruise on his left knee, but still showed signs of rust. He scored 10 points on 2-for-9 shooting. He did, however, make a three-pointer late in the second half and nailed four free throws down the stretch."We got a sprained ankle Allen. We got a bad knee Fernandez, Dunphy said. Learn to live with it. Suck it up and play.The Owls won the game and stretched their win streak to four games, but the team will remember this one as the game that almost got away.Were not good enough to have those stretches of games were we dont focus on each possession, Dunphy said. Now they know.E-mail Dave Zangaro at firstname.lastname@example.org