For Temple to be successful in its upcoming stretch, it must count on Lynn Greer. On Monday evening Temple did just that and more.
Greer scored 47 points, surpassing his previous career high of 30 points, in a 70-67 double overtime win at Wisconsin on Monday. He made two key threes down the stretch. One three sent the game into overtime while the other extended the game to a second OT.
“It was the best individual performance I have seen, since I have been coaching college basketball,” Temple Assistant Coach Nate Blackwell said. “What he did was unbelievable; he picked us up on his back and carried us.”
In Temple’s upcoming stretch, the unbelievable is what Greer will have to do, especially without Kevin Lyde. The Temple center was lost to a left ankle sprain last Saturday against Penn State. Temple played top-ranked Duke Wednesday night and plays Villanova at 8 p.m. at the Palestra on Saturday. The game is the final game of a Big 5 tripleheader.
Temple Coach John Chaney is particularly worried about the loss of Lyde weighing on the shoulders of Greer.
“Two people are playing Lynn now. There were two people playing Kevin, or two people running over to play Ron [Rollerson], and letting Alex [Wesby] and Nile Murry beat them,” Chaney said. “But now they’re not going to let Lynn do anything. So Lynn’s going to probably get beat up. I’ve been trying to tell him, they’re going to beat the hell out of him. I went out to tell his mother and father that maybe we ought to have some kind of protection for him when we leave here.”
But on Monday Greer did not need protection, nor help from his teammates. He was able to take care of Wisconsin by himself.
“We were undermanned a bit,” Greer said. “We needed to do anything to get the win.
Now Temple focuses on the upcoming stretch. After Saturday’s game against Villanova, the Owls will have a week off to gather their presence before a long slate of games over winter break.
The Owls will face tough competition in Alabama on Dec. 18, before facing Memphis on Dec. 20, and DePaul on Dec. 22.
“I think the break over Christmas well help us a lot,” senior forward Alex Wesby said. “We can just concentrate on practice and playing games instead of worrying about our classes.”
The Owls hope to get David Hawkins back for that key part of their schedule. If Hawkins becomes academically eligible, he could play on Dec. 18 when Temple plays Alabama in the Jimmy V. Classic at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J.
“It is essential to get David back,” junior forward Greg Jefferson said. “He played a key role in what we did last year. He has great leadership and we are just looking forward to getting him back in the lineup.”
Temple will see the very talented freshman Dajuan Wagner when the Owls host Memphis at the Liacouras Center on Dec. 20. Wagner was a high school star at Camden High School in New Jersey.
“It is going to be a tough stretch,” Greer said. “We have a lot of tough teams. Right now in practice we are just trying to get ready for those teams. We just need to take one game at a time.”
Scott Chafetz can be reached at Scottec@rocketmail.com