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.

Villanova stays put at No. 2 for the 3rd straight week

Villanova stays put at No. 2 for the 3rd straight week

Villanova stayed put in the national rankings this week.

The defending champion Wildcats remained the No. 2 overall team in the Associated Press top-25 poll behind 24-0 Gonzaga. The Bulldogs received 59 first-place votes while Villanova received five votes. Kansas, which came in at No. 3, received the other No. 1 vote.

The Wildcats stayed where they were in the rankings after holding their own with two comfortable road wins, in large part thanks to sophomore point guard Jalen Brunson. Brunson was the big man on campus this week, beginning with a team-high 18 points in a 75-62 win at DePaul on Monday. He followed it up with his first career double-double as he put together a 22-point, 10-assist effort in a blowout win over Seton Hall in Newark on Saturday.

The win over the Pirates meant the Wildcats clinched a share of the Big East regular-season title for the fourth straight year. One win in their last three regular season games or one loss each by Butler and Creighton would hand Villanova sole possession of the Big East crown. 

Therefore, it's only fitting that the Wildcats' next two games are against none other than Butler and Creighton. Butler handed Villanova its first loss of the season back on Jan. 4 at Hinkle Fieldhouse, but the No. 22 Bulldogs have to travel to Philadelphia for the rematch on Wednesday. The No. 23 Blue Jays then head to the Pavillion for a Saturday afternoon duel. The Wildcats beat Creighton, 80-70, on New Year's Eve in Omaha.

At this point last season, Villanova had four losses (two in conference) and had just a one-game lead in the Big East. This year, they have much more room for comfort, albeit with a tough week with two ranked opponents ahead of them. 

Behind the top three, which remained static this week, the Pac 12 had three teams ranked 4-6 – Arizona, UCLA and Oregon – in the poll this week. The ACC had six teams in the top 25, including No. 7 Louisville, No. 8 North Carolina and No. 10 Duke. Baylor, which lost to Kansas on Saturday, fell from No. 4 to No. 9. 

Temple's youth shows again as lead slips away late in loss to UConn

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Temple's youth shows again as lead slips away late in loss to UConn

BOX SCORE

Temple’s Sunday tilt with UConn at the Liacouras Center was the embodiment of a young team trying to find its way.

The Owls had a double-digit lead against one of the hottest teams in the nation, thanks in part to their young guys producing in pivotal moments in the game.

However, the inability to finish cost Temple again, as the Owls allowed Jalen Adams to convert a reverse layup with 2.9 seconds remaining in a 64-63 loss to the Huskies (see Instant Replay).

“It’s hard,” Temple Head Coach Fran Dunphy said after the loss. “We have two of these now. We have Tulsa (70-68 on Jan. 14) and Connecticut at the buzzer at home. There’s not a lot to say.

“If we all make one better decision, including me, whether it’s a defensive set, a substitution or whatever. They hold onto the ball, they get a rebound, they make a shot, whatever it happens to be. We all make one better decision and we’re coming away with two great wins in Tulsa and UConn and not sitting here after two tough losses.”

After UConn hit a three to tie the game at 60, Temple freshman Quinton Rose made a huge three-pointer of his own to put the Owls back up 63-60 with 2:32 left in the game.

With Temple (14-14, 5-10 AAC) still clinging to a three-point lead, sophomore Shizz Alston, Jr. came up with a huge offensive rebound, only to turn it over with 1:08 left on the clock. Adams came up with the steal and raced up the court, but was fouled by Rose while attempting a dunk.

Following Adams’ two makes at the free-throw line, Temple’s lead was trimmed to just 63-62. On the ensuing possession, senior Daniel Dingle was fouled by UConn guard Rodney Purvis.

Dingle missed the front end of a one-and-one set at the line, which set the stage for Adams’ acrobatic shot to give the Huskies (14-12, 9-5 AAC) their seventh win in the last eight games.

“We knew they were going to come off that high ball screen with Adams,” Dunphy said. “We needed to sit down and keep him in front of us. One guy could have helped a little bit more than he did. It would have been a drive and kick for an open jumper, but it would have been better than [a layup]. The other guy just needs to sit down on that play and keep Adams in front of him, but we knew that ball screen was coming.”

“I honestly thought the ball was going to Purvis because he made the last three shots, so I did my best to deny him,” Dingle said. “[Adams] did a fantastic move.”

Things had been going Temple’s way for a majority of the night. The Owls led for the vast majority of game time thanks in part to 5 of 9 shooting from three in the first half, which gave them a 35-29 halftime lead. The lead increased to 56-46 with 8:29 left in the contest.

Dingle’s all-around play and leadership helped push Temple ahead. Freshmen Damien Moore and Alani Moore II combined for 22 points on 9 of 10 shooting.

However, the Owls went cold late. Temple made only 2 of 12 three-point shots in the second half.

UConn's day went in the opposite direction as the Huskies shot a blistering 54.2 percent in the second half and 62.5 percent from downtown. Purvis poured in 13 of his game-high 18 after intermission.

“The younger guys are doing very well,” said Dingle, who finished with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists. “We’re going to learn how to win. They’re doing a great job. It just so happens that we let one get away again.”

The Owls have made close defeats a habit. Sunday marked their fifth loss this season by five points or less.

These type of losses are the reason why Temple is in the eighth spot in the American Athletic Conference. With three regular-season games left and the AAC conference tournament quickly approaching, this Temple team, which holds victories over No. 9 West Virginia and No. 17 Florida State, will need to start showing the same promise it had earlier in the season to keep alive any dreams of dancing in the NCAA Tournament.

“I definitely talk to the guys about having that sense of urgency,” Dingle said. “For me, time is running out, so that’s the sense of urgency I’ve got. We’ve got to get there as a whole. I say that in the huddle, ‘We’ve got to get there.’ I remember being a freshman to now I’m in my fifth year. Time is not waiting, so every game we’ve got to go out there and play like it’s our last.

“The sense of urgency I think is all right but it has to increase. In order for us to get an opportunity to play in the NCAA [Tournament] – that’s something I want to do and I know the team wants bad for us as a whole and definitely for the seniors. Coach talks about the sense of urgency has to pick up.”