Sometimes records can be deceiving.
Fordham (11-13 overall) entered Saturday’s game against the Temple men’s basketball team with a 4-7 Atlantic Ten Conference record, but the Rams had won two of their last three games, including victories over Massachusetts and Charlotte.
The visiting Rams kept the momentum going with a 78-76 win over Temple at the Liacouras Center. Fordham senior Marcus Stout scored a game-high 31 points, just one point shy of his career high, to bump the Owls out of second place in the A-10 (14-12, 7-5 A-10).
“It’s definitely a tough loss,” senior center Sergio Olmos said. “I guess we have no chance of going to the [NCAA] Tournament without winning the A-10 Tournament.”
With the loss, Temple falls into a third place tie with Richmond (14-11,7-5) in the conference standings, behind first place Xavier and Saint Joseph’s.
The Owls, who trailed by 15 points with about 12 minutes left in the second half, tied the game at 68 after sophomore Ryan Brooks converted a lay-up with 4:20 remaining. From there, the Rams went on a 9-4 run to take a 77-72 lead with 24 seconds left in the contest.
Once again, however, the Owls rallied back.
A couple of missed free throws and a steal by senior guard Mark Tyndale with less than 10 seconds remaining gave the Owls an opportunity to tie or win the game with 4.5 seconds left. But Tyndale, the inbounder on the final play, missed a three-point attempt from the left elbow after receiving the ball on a handoff from sophomore Ryan Brooks.
“The shot was on line, it was just a little short,” Tyndale said. “They cut everything else of so that was the best look I had.”
Tyndale finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds to notch his fourth double-double of the season, but he also committed five turnovers. Junior guard Dionte Christmas led the Owls with 20 points.
But it was Stout who stole the show from the Owls’ vaunted “one-two” punch.
The 6-4 guard scored 12 of the Rams’ final 16 points over the final 8:50 of the contest. Earlier in the season, Stout was held to 11 points on 4-of-16 shooting when the Rams lost to visiting Temple at Rose Hill Gym on Jan. 31.
“He had a great game. He’s a terrific player,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. “It was interesting, [assistant] coach [Shawn] Trice, who had this game as a scout, mentioned to our guys that Stout did not have his best game when we played him up there and that he was going to try to get revenge and he certainly did.”
Stout received help from sophomore guard Brenton Butler and senior forward Bryant Dunston, who each scored 12 points for the Rams. Dunston also pulled down 10 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the season.
“[Freshman] Lavoy [Allen] and I, we had a tough job guarding Dunston,” Olmos said.
Despite the tough defensive assignment, Olmos helped the Owls keep pace with Fordham at the start of the contest. The 7-foot center, who finished the game with eight points, scored Temple’s first six points of the contest on three consecutive shots.
But, like Olmos, Fordham also caught fire early. The Rams hit six of their first eight three-point attempts to take a 20-12 lead with 14:16 left in the first stanza.
Later in the half, the Rams utilized a 9-2 run to open up a 40-28 lead over Temple with 4:51 remaining. Fordham entered intermission with a 43-32 advantage.
“We did most of our damage to ourselves in the first half,” Dunphy said.
Although both teams shot 50 percent for the game, the Rams converted four more free throws and four more three-point attempts to separate themselves from Temple.
“They just outworked us the whole game,” Tyndale said. “We got too far behind in the first half and we never bounced back after that.”
The 1957-58 Temple men’s basketball team was honored at halftime. That squad won 25 straight games before losing to the eventual NCAA Tournament champions, Kentucky, in the Final Four … The Owls last home loss came against St. Joe’s. The Hawks defeated Temple, 68-67, at the Liacouras Center on Jan. 26 … Temple women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley was honored in the first half for winning her 167th game — the most wins for a coach in the program’s history. The historic win came in a 70-67 victory over host St. Joe’s Wednesday. Staley appeared at midcourt with her assistant coaches and her players … Temple football coach Al Golden also appeared at midcourt during the first half. He congratulated Staley for her accomplishment and reminded fans that Temple will open its season with a matchup against Connecticut. The Owls lost to host UConn, 22-17, last September after officials ruled a potential game-winning touchdown catch by wide receiver Bruce Francis incomplete. The officials ruled that Francis did not have a foot inbounds, although TV replays showed that he might have gotten one foot in. “If I remember correctly, you only need to have one foot down to win in college football,” Golden said jokingly to the delight of the crowd … This was the second game of a women’s and men’s doubleheader Saturday. Both squads played Fordham. The women’s team defeated the Rams, 65-46, in the first game of the doubleheader. Attendance figures were only provided for the men’s game – 5,373 fans attended the latter of the two contests.
The Owls will host Charlotte (14-11, 5-6) at the Liacouras Center Wednesday at 7 p.m. The 49ers defeated Temple, 60-58, at the Halton Arena on Jan. 12.
Tyson McCloud can be reached at Tyson@temple.edu.