Owls clobber Saint Louis

With the outcome never in doubt, the Owls cruised to a 65-40 win over the Billikens behind 53 percent shooting.

That, folks, is what they call a blowout.

In the men’s basketball team’s 65-40 win over Saint Louis Thursday night at the Liacouras Center, the final outcome wasn’t even a question. The Owls never trailed, as sophomore forward Lavoy Allen went a near-perfect 8-10 from the field to lead the team with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Jumping out to leads of 14-5 and 27-7, Temple (10-7 overall, 2-1 Atlantic Ten Conference) rebounded from its loss to Massachusetts last Saturday by playing balanced, team basketball. In addition to Allen’s contributions, sophomore forward Craig Williams notched 11 points and senior guard Dionte Christmas added eight points, five assists and seven rebounds.

All in all, it was a fairly easy 40 minutes for coach Fran Dunphy’s squad.

“Tonight, we didn’t have much of a lull here,” Dunphy said of his team’s dominating performance. “So that was a good thing for us.”

St. Louis (11-7, 2-2) also helped the Owls, shooting 30 percent from the field for the game, as top player’s senior guards Kevin Lisch and Tommie Liddell III both struggled on the night. Lisch shot a disastrous 0-10 and Liddell added just 12 points—on 5-16 shooting.

“We were just trying to keep those guys from doing what they do best,” Christmas said.

Meanwhile, the Owls shot 64.3 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from beyond the three-point line in the first half, as they held a 43-16 advantage at halftime. Though those numbers dropped in the second half when the starters exited the contest and play got sloppy, the Owls were still able to put up the big first half numbers due to the play of Allen and Williams, which opened up things outside.

“We always want to start with going inside first, that’s always our mentality,” Dunphy said. “But that’s not always going to happen if teams are going to take that away from you. Lavoy made some pretty tough shots tonight… I’d like to see him [shoot outside] more if teams are going take to take [the inside game] away from him.”

Allen, as usual, gave the credit for his solid play to his teammates.

“Everyone knows about Dionte Christmas, everyone knows we have a lot of shooters,” he said. “In order to make a run late in the season, we got to be a more inside-outside team. So Craig and I were aggressive today, trying to free up the guards on the wings.”

Part of that aggressiveness may have been due to the UMass loss, where Allen didn’t get as many touches as he normally does.

Or, it could have been the week of practice Dunphy made his team go through.

“[It was] tough, just a lot of intensity,” Christmas said. “We’ve just been busting each other the last couple of days. I thought we did a great job in practice in the last couple of days getting prepared for St. Louis.”

“I was probably better this time around than I [was] after some other losses,” Dunphy added.

A perhaps new, easier Dunphy aside, the Owls almost had a situation on their hands in the second half, as Christmas had to exit the game with 13:17 remaining due to a cut above his right eye.

Fortunately for the Owls, it wasn’t serious, though the Owls’ co-captain did not re-enter the game, mostly due to the score.

“I need a couple of stitches, but [I was] asked if I could go back into the game, and I said ‘yea,’” Christmas said. “I’ll be alright. I’ll be ready for Saturday, definitely.”

The Owls return to action Saturday at 6 p.m. against Charlotte.

Game Notes

Saint Louis freshman guard Kwamain Mitchell was involved in a collision late in the second half and left the game in a stretcher and was sent to Temple Hospital. No update on his status was given…The announced crowd of 4,856 featured a full student section…Freshman guard Ramon Moore was in street clothes, and it was announced after the game that he is academically ineligible for the spring semester, thus ending his season…Philadelphia 76ers guard Andre Miller was in attendance.

Todd Orodenker can be reached at todd.orodenker@temple.edu.

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