With virtually all room for error gone for the season, the Temple men’s basketball team got its second consecutive victory, beating Atlantic 10 foe Rhode Island 77-47 at the Liacouras Center on Sunday afternoon.
The win improved the Owls to 13-10 on the season, including 7-2 in conference play.
Temple continued its recent success against the Rams. The Owls have not fallen to Rhody since current Los Angeles Clipper Lamar Odom’s buzzer-beating three-pointer to beat Temple in the final of the 1999 A-10 tournament.
As evidenced by the score, the Owls encountered little resistance on Sunday.
Temple leapt to a 44-25 halftime lead and cruised the rest of the way, led by senior guard Quincy Wadley’s 22 points. But the story of the game for the Owls was only half points.
Three Temple players – point guard Lynn Greer, center Kevin Lyde and small forward Alex Wesby – recorded double-doubles against the Rams. The feat is no surprise for Lyde, who scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, but Greer and Wesby had to overcome some weaknesses to get theirs.
Wesby, in particular, has struggled lately, appearing lost in the Temple offense. The 6-5 Philadelphia native mirrored Lyde’s performance against Rhody, however, scoring 12 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.
Greer, who has struggled all season to adjust to the point, excelled in the lead guard’s role on Sunday, handing out 10 assists to go with his 18 points.
TOUGH ROW TO HOE
With seven games remaining on Temple’s schedule, the Owls could still put themselves in a position to go to the NCAA Tournament next month by either winning out or finishing 6-1.
But the easy part is over.
Over the next two-and-a-half weeks, Temple will face four other A-10 teams still harboring NCAA hopes. The Owls play conference heavy Xavier on Sunday in Cincinnati, A-10 frontrunner St. Joe’s on Tuesday night on Hawk Hill, a confident UMass team Feb. 17 in Amherst and 2000 tourney team Dayton at the Liacouras Center on Feb. 24.
Add three games against offensively dangerous LaSalle and george Washington, and there are plenty of places for Temple to fall – possibly all the way to the NIT.
If the Owls are able to traverse this rough stretch with one loss or fewer, however, Temple will be close enough to that all-important 20-win barrier to hold its post-season life in its hands.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Temple’s only senior starter, Quincy Wadley, showed what has made him a reliable late-season performer over the last two seasons, leading Temple in scoring in both of the Owls’ wins this week.
Wadley shot 7-for-17 from the field for 21 points in Temple’s 84-58 win at Duquesne last Thursday night. He followed that with an even brighter performance on Sunday at home, leading the Owls with 22 points on a stellar 8-for-10 shooting.