No. 24 Temple overcomes bad start, tops GW

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No. 24 Temple overcomes bad start, tops GW

Saturday, February 26, 2011
Posted: 5:44 p.m.

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Temple coach Fran Dunphy insisted he wasn't worried.

Three days after their worst loss of the season to the top-ranked team in the nation, the Owls missed 16 of their first 18 shots and fell 12 points behind George Washington. After the horrific first 10 minutes were over, No. 24 Temple stabilized and dominated the Colonials in the second half on the way to a 57-41 victory Saturday.

After returning the favor by holding George Washington to just two points over the final 11:22, Dunphy could look back on Saturday's game with satisfaction.

"I thought our defense in the second half was as good as we can play," Dunphy said.

How good was it?

The Owls (22-6, 12-2 Atlantic 10) held the Colonials (15-13, 8-6) to 18.8 percent shooting from the field. Temple outscored George Washington 19-2 after the Colonials took a 39-38 lead.

"Everybody just kind of dug in," Dunphy said.

Lavoy Allen had 19 points and a season-high 16 rebounds for the Owls, who have won nine of 10, while Khalif Wyatt had 14 points and Ramone Moore added 11.

On Wednesday, Temple lost by 17 points at No. 1 Duke. Then George Washington ran out to an early 12-point lead.

"I don't think there was," Dunphy said about a hangover effect. "I don't think we were reeling by any stretch. We just kind of had to get our legs under us."

Once that happened, Allen, their all-time leading rebounder, was simply marvelous, shooting 8 of 12 from the field and blocking three shots to complement his work on the boards.

"We had poor ball movement at the beginning," Allen said. "Maybe we took them too lightly."

Allen has had to do more because two of the Owls' top players, forwards Micheal Eric and Scootie Randall, are both out with injuries. Eric has missed the last four games with a fractured right patella and won't play again this season. Randall, their second-leading scorer and rebounder, missed the last three games with an injury to his right foot. Randall's return is expected, but no date has been set.

"Everybody's got to do a little bit better," Wyatt said. "We're just growing as a team since they went down."

Dwayne Smith had 12 points to lead the Colonials, who scored a season-low 41 points in having a three-game winning streak end.

George Washington coach Karl Hobbs is an admirer of both Temple and Allen.

"I think it was pretty obvious. Their defense really took things away from us," Hobbs said. "That's the best team that we've played."

Before Saturday's game, Hobbs talked at length to his team about Allen.

"He must be a pleasure to coach," Hobbs said. "He controlled and dominated the game."

While Hobbs admires Allen from afar, Dunphy gets to coach the 6-foot-9 senior -- at least for a few more weeks.

"He's always in the right place defensively," Dunphy said. "It's something we're used to, but I think today was kind of an exceptional game for him."

In their nightmarish beginning, the Owls shot just 2 of 18, and quickly fell behind 20-8. They didn't crack double figures until more than halfway through the first half. After George Washington took a 22-10 lead on Aaron Ware's layup with 7:33 to play in the opening 20 minutes, Temple crawled back into the game. Allen scored 10 straight points for the Owls as they got within 26-23 at halftime.

It was somewhat remarkable that Temple trailed by just three at the half since they shot 24.2 percent.

After the Colonials' Nemanja Mikic hit a 3-pointer to make it 29-23, the Owls scored 10 straight points -- including a 3-pointer and layup by Allen to take a 33-29 lead with 16:47 left.

The Colonials haven't beaten a ranked team at home since they defeated Xavier on Jan. 14, 1998.

Temple, which has won 23 of its last 27 games played at George Washington, trails league-leading Xavier by a half-game. The 25th-ranked Musketeers play at Dayton on Sunday.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Penn State men's hockey ranked No. 1 for first time in program history

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Penn State men's hockey ranked No. 1 for first time in program history

At 16-2-1, Penn State's men's hockey team is ranked first in the nation for the first time in program history.

The Nittany Lions have improved each of the last four years under head coach Guy Gadowsky. 

Their record by year:

      2013-14: 8-26-2
      2014-15: 18-15-4
Last season: 21-13-4
This season: 16-2-1

Penn State received 30 of 50 first-place votes in the USCHO Division I poll. Denver is ranked No. 2, followed by Boston University, Minnesota-Duluth and Massachusetts-Lowell (see USCHO poll).

Penn State was ranked fourth last week before sweeping Michigan State.

Villanova focused on learning from win over Seton Hall, not No. 1 ranking

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Villanova focused on learning from win over Seton Hall, not No. 1 ranking

A few hours before Villanova hosted Seton Hall on Monday night, head coach Jay Wright came home and talked to his wife, Patty.

“You know you’re No. 1?” she said.

Wright didn’t react much to the news, nor did the players on the team when they found out during the pregame meal a little bit later.

“It’s not really that big of a deal this time,” Wright said. “I think we were all much more concerned with Seton Hall.”

Being No. 1 may almost be old news at this point, but thoroughly dominating good teams at the Pavilion never gets stale for the Wildcats, who cruised to a 76-46 demolition of the Pirates on the same day they regained the top spot of the rankings after a week at No. 3 (see Instant Replay).

Senior Kris Jenkins sparked the win with 16 points, shooting 4 for 6 from the three-point line and 4 for 4 from the foul line — numbers he cared far more about than the No. 1 in front of Villanova.

“That’s just a number,” Jenkins said. “We focus on getting better each and every day. We can lose our next game and we won’t be No. 1.” 

Villanova reached the No. 1 spot in the AP poll for the first time in the program’s illustrious history last season, a couple of months before winning the national title on an iconic buzzer-beater from Jenkins.

The Wildcats then spent five weeks at No. 1 this season before a 66-58 loss to Butler on Jan. 4 moved them out of the top spot — only briefly, as it turned out.

“Every time you do something first is exciting,” Wright said. “And then you learn from it. I think we learned a great lesson last year and I think it helped us this year. And we learned a lesson again when we went to Butler. So you keep learning from it, that’s what we really take from it.”

As the Wildcats said last season, the most important thing is finishing the season No. 1. And they certainly showed once again that they have the chops to repeat as national champs — a prospect that Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard called “pretty exciting” even after his team had its brains beaten in.

“That’s a tough team to play,” Willard said. “They’re the No. 1 team in the country for a reason. If you’re not clicking on all cylinders when you come here, that can happen.”

Willard went on to say that “if Josh Hart’s not the National Player of the Year, then there’s something wrong.” But against the Pirates, Hart had a modest 11 points as Villanova showed off its impressive balance with all seven players in Wright’s rotation finishing with at least eight points.

Afterwards, Wright credited his three seniors — Jenkins, Hart and Darryl Reynolds (eight points, nine rebounds) — for helping the team bounce back from a sub-optimal performance in Saturday’s 70-57 win over St. John’s at Madison Square Garden.

“I’m just really fortunate to have three guys who are experienced and have been successful but are really humble,” Wright said. “We looked at the film, told them St. John’s played harder than us, and we took care of it. I think our seniors set the tone.”

Saturday’s win wasn’t the only game at the Garden on Villanova’s mind. The last time the Wildcats played Seton Hall, they suffered a stinging defeat to the Pirates in the title game of the Big East Tournament. 

Jenkins, though, insisted, that rare loss didn’t offer any extra motivation. Neither did the fact that Villanova set a record with its 47th straight victory at the Pavilion. Or that Monday’s win was the program’s 1,700th of all time.

“Numbers are something that is becoming a challenge for us,” Wright admitted. “It’s a great challenge to have. Right now, it doesn’t really do anything for us. But trust me, at the end of the year, we take great pride in that. All it can do is distract us right now. We know we have to answer the questions and you guys do a great job. I usually learn the numbers from you guys. It’s just not gonna do anything for us right now.”

Wright may not always like talking about his team’s absurdly impressive accomplishments. But he certainly loves games like this one as the Wildcats dominated all phases, from start to finish.

Deadly long-range shooting? Tenacious defense? Creating turnovers and scoring off them? Big-time hustle plays and rebounds? Electrifying dunks? Villanova did it all Monday in front of a raucous section of students back from winter break and one spectator named Ben Simmons, who took in the game from a courtside seat and applauded with everyone else.

What’s it like coaching a game like that? Is it ever hard when your No. 1 team is up by 30?

“It’s not difficult at all,” Wright said with a laugh. “It’s enjoyable. Things are going well, so you’re enjoying yourself.”