Senior forward Lavoy Allen had 19 points and a season-high 16 rebounds as the men’s basketball team overcame a 12-point first-half deficit to defeat George Washington, 57-41.
The Owls (22-6, 11-2) trailed, 22-10, with seven minutes and 33 seconds remaining in the first half as the Colonials (15-13, 8-6) shot 44.4 percent in the first half. Temple managed to claw its way back into things behind the a 13-4 run that ended the first half.
Allen had ten points in the first 20 minutes on 4-of-6 shooting. The rest of the team shot a combined 4-of-27 from the field and just 2-of-10 from three-point land. Even with Allen, the Owls shot just 24 percent from the field, including 20 percent from beyond the arc.
Temple’s offense was more effective in the second half as the Owls shot 55 percent in the second half, including 66.7 percent from beyond the arc.
George Washington shot just 18.8 percent from the floor in the second half. The Owls never let up, as they outscored the Colonials, 19-2, over the last 11:22.
A change in the Owls’ on-the-court mentality proved to be the difference, Allen said.
“We had poor ball movement in the beginning,” Allen said. “Guys were just taking bad shots and worrying about themselves. Once we kept them off the backboard and moved the ball around, we started to come back.”
“Maybe we took them too lightly [in the first half],” Allen added.
Coming into the game, the Colonials had won four of their last five games and were 8-5 in the Atlantic Ten Conference.
“That’s the best team we’ve played all year,” George Washington coach Karl Hobbs said. “Their defense really took things away from us.”
Junior guard Juan Fernandez capped off the victory with a behind-the-back pass to sophomore guard Khalif Wyatt with 1:53 left in the game.
“I wasn’t expecting him to throw that pass, but when Juan’s playing like that, that’s how you know he’s confident,” Wyatt said. “It was nice to see him having fun. He made a nice pass to me and I rewarded him and made the shot.”
Wyatt, who finished the game with 14 points on 3-of-7 shooting, played 33 minutes off the bench. Junior guard Ramone Moore added 11 points and seven rebounds in the win
.Allen, who posted his eighth double-double of the season, including his third straight, played all 40 minutes for the Owls. Since missing the win over Dayton, Allen has played at least 37 minutes in every game.
“Lavoy Allen is my favorite player in this league,” Hobbs said. “He’s so patient with everything he does… He never looks like he’s in a hurry, but he’s very quick to spots. At one point, he pretty much controlled and dominated the game from a defensive standpoint and an offensive standpoint.”
Sophomore forwward Dwayne Smith led George Washington with 12 points off of 5-of-13 shooting. Despite taking just six shots,junior forward Aaron Ware added in 11 points for the Colonials. All in all, eight GWU players registered at least 15 minutes of play.
George Washington’s leading scorer, junior guard Tony Taylor, was held to just five points on 2-of-12 shooting. Shutting down Taylor was always part of Temple’s plan, Wyatt said.
“He’s their playmaker – their leading scorer and leading assist guy,” Wyatt said. “We figured if we did a good job on him, we would have a good chance at winning the game. That was one of the keys to victory and we did a pretty good job.”
Temple travels to Massachusetts on Thursday to play the Minutemen. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. The Owls will then return to the Liacouras Center on Mar. 5 for the last home game of the season. Tipoff for the contest against the Explorers is set for 3 p.m.
Kyle Gauss can be reached at email@example.com