How quickly the face of college basketball can change.
When these two teams met last year, Temple was the sentimental favorite of the NCAA heading to what many experts believed was going to be John Chaney’s first Final Four appearance. At the same time, Dayton was an up-and-coming sleeper team that got an at-large bid into the tournament before losing a close game to Purdue in the first round.
Things are different this year. The 2001 Dayton-Temple matchup served as a virtual elimination game between two bubble teams as Temple defeated the Flyers 70-62 at the Liacouras Center last Saturday.
Junior point guard Lynn Greer once again led Temple (16-12, 10-4 Atlantic 10) with a game-high 26 points and six assists, while playing the entire 40 minutes for the 21st time this season.
“He [Greer] is as good a point guard as I’ve seen in a long time, it is as simple as that,” Dayton coach Oliver Purnell said. “He’s got a tremendous sense, he’s a scorer and if you come over he can make a good pass.”
With the victory, the Owls have clinched a first-round bye in next week’s Atlantic 10 Tournament, and swept the season series over Dayton (16-11, 7-7 A-10). Temple currently stands in fourth place, one game behind third-seeded Massachusetts (13-12, 11-3).
“What we want to do is finish our schedule out by winning,” Chaney said. “At this time of year, you really gain a lot more confidence with every win because you take with you a certain degree of arrogance when you go into your [conference] tournament.”
Near the end of a close first half, Brooks Hall’s three-pointer gave Dayton its largest lead of the game at 29-21 with four minutes remaining before intermission. Temple retaliated by closing the half on a 10-2 run to tie the game at 31 all by the break.
The Owls continued their run by scoring the first six points in the second half. They followed that with a key 16-7 run to increase the Temple lead to 54-43 with seven minutes remaining. The Owls would never trail again.
Senior forward Tony Stanley led the Flyers with 19 points, including 5 of 9 from three point range, while Kevin Lyde and Quincy Wadley each scored 12 points apiece.
Before the game, Temple held a special tribute to Guy Rodgers, the greatest player to ever wear an Owls uniform. Rodgers passed away last week in Los Angeles due to an apparent heat attack.