Even when nothing seems to be going right and the situation is spiraling out of control, the Temple men’s basketball team can count on one thing: beating Fordham.
The Owls haven’t lost to Fordham since the 1980-81 season, and certainly not since the Bronx, N.Y.-based Rams joined the Atlantic 10 Conference in 1993. That trend remained solid on Tuesday night in New York, as Temple beat Fordham 90-72 in front of 3,158 at Rose Hill Gym.
Temple center Kevin Lyde led a back-to-basics offense with a career-high 27 points, rounding out a double-double performance with 10 rebounds.
The Owls went to Lyde early and often, pounding an outmuscled Fordham frontcourt. The 6-9 Washington, D.C., native went 12-for-19 from the floor and 3-for-3 from the foul line.
Temple’s 90-point night marked a season-high in offense for the Owls. Five Owl players reached double-digits in scoring, led by Lyde and senior guard Quincy Wadley, who contributed 20.
Wadley also had a double-double, pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds, while also amassing three steals and an assist.
With the win, Temple’s record improved to 11-9 on the season, 5-1 in the A-10. The victory snapped a two-game skid which saw the Owls lose to Big Five rival St. Joe’s for the first time at the Liacouras Center, and also go down to DePaul on a buzzer-beating three-pointer in Chicago.
As god as any win looks on paper however, Temple’s victory over Fordham does not spell the end of the Owls’ troubles. Temple cannot expect to shoot nearly 50 percent from the field, as was the case in the Bronx on Tuesday.
The Owls’ severe difficulties have come in the games where they don’t shoot well, and are unable to control the pace of their opponents’ offense.
PLAYER OF THE BREAK:
Freshman guard (bold) David Hawkins continues to impress, having won a permanent starting position over the winter break. Hawkins remained a starter, replacing Ron Rollerson, when senior guard Quincy Wadley returned from a shoulder injury versus Penn at the Palestra Dec. 29.
Hawkins took his game to another plane that night versus the Quakers, scoring a career-high 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting, grabbing seven rebounds and an assist. He was also 30 for 03 from three-point range.
On the season, Hawkins is averaging 11.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. While he has suffered from the inconsistency that often plagues youth, his play has been a pleasant surprise among a slew of disappointments.
First-year sophomore guard Ron Blackshear and freshman center Carlton Aaron left the team over the break. Blackshear and Aaron were both discouraged with their lack of playing time.
Aaron’s restlessness reportedly manifested itself in an altercation with an assistant coach during Temple’s loss to Duke, Dec. 2 at the First Union Center, resulting in an indefinite suspension starting with the loss at Villanova, Dec. 5.
Aaron will remain at Temple for the spring semester, his tuition paid for by Chaney, and he will likely transfer for the fall semester, 2001. If that happens, Aaron will be eligible to play for another school at the start of fall semester 2002.
Chaney said Blackshear was one of the best shooters he’d ever seen, but that the Georgia native wasn’t working hard enough on his ball-handling or defensive skills.
Blackshear asked for a release from his scholarship after final exams were over, ending up at Marshall of the Mid-American Conference. He’ll be eligible to play for the Thundering Herd after the close of the fall semester, 2001.
AROUND THE A-10:
Things are not quite as dire as they might seem. Despite the Owls’ horrible showing versus St. Joe’s last Tuesday night, Temple is not far behind the best in the Atlantic 10. In fact, a few minor adjustments might bring the Owls even with the Hawks and other conference powers like Xavier.
Temple already has a victory at Dayton, and the Flyers Feb. 24 date at the Liacouras Center could be pivotal.
Every A-10 squad has at least one loss, but Temple can afford no more than two more regular-season losses without giving any real hope for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
QUOTE OF THE BREAK:
“This league still goes through Temple,” said St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli of the A-10. “This league was built by John Chaney.”
Martelli went on to chide the media on its coverage of the Temple-St. Joe’s rivalry.
“I want to read about our two-game winning streak over Temple,” he said. “I read about the 10-game losing streak so goddamn much.”