Part Two of Temple Athletics’ Super Saturday ended the way Part One ended… with a Temple win.
Hours after the Temple football team won its ninth consecutive game at Lincoln Financial Field, the men’s basketball team rallied to beat Siena, 73-69, at the Liacouras Center.
Contributions came from players not named Ryan Brooks and Lavoy Allen, as the Owls (2-1) got career-high point totals from Juan Fernandez, Ramone Moore and Micheal Eric.
“It’s a big, strong, physical team,” Siena coach Fran McCaffery said. “Their players really competed. They kept their composure, which they do. They don’t beat themselves. They’re not going to hand it to us.”
After a tight, back-and-forth 10 minutes to start the contest, the Saints (2-1) took charge and jumped out to an 11-point lead to enter the half up 36-30. Siena shot 52 percent from the field, while the Owls shot just 38 percent.
Thanks to the leadership of Fernandez and Moore and a 13-0 run, the Owls quickly erased Siena’s lead to go up 49-43. The Saints fought back, and with fewer than five minutes remaining in the game, took a 62-59 lead.
Temple responded with seven unanswered points capped off by a 3-point basket from Fernandez. After playing just 16 minutes on Tuesday, Fernandez answered back by shooting 8-for-11 for a career-high 20 points. The sophomore guard was 4-for-6 from behind the 3-point line.
“It was very important,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. “His first foul at Georgetown was maybe one of the dumbest fouls I have ever seen. He played  minutes. He would have played 34 minutes if he didn’t make that mistake. Tonight I thought he really redeemed himself.”
Another Owl who redeemed himself was Moore. The sophomore guard had a chance to clinch Temple’s upset bid of No. 20 Georgetown, but his missed free throw kept the Hoyas alive and allowed them to squeak out a 46-45 victory Tuesday afternoon in Washington, D.C.
Tonight, it was Moore who iced the win for the Owls. Moore’s layup put the Owls up 68-65 with a minute and a half left, and his two free throws with 27 seconds remaining put the Owls ahead again by three, 72-69.
Moore finished with a career-high 20 points with four rebounds and three assists.
“As soon as we got back I went to the gym to practice free throws,” Moore said. “That went through my mind the whole time because I thought I let my team down missing those free throws, so I thought it was big for me to go out there and knock those down.”
“It’s just stepping up to the line and getting it done,” Dunphy added. “Ramone Moore redeemed himself tonight, stepped up and made a huge one-and-one late in the game.”
Micheal Eric also scored a career-high with 12 points along with two blocks.
Senior forward Alex Franklin paced the Saints with 22 points and six rebounds. Junior forward Ryan Rossiter pitched in for eight points and a team-leading 11 boards.
After a near-upset against Georgetown earlier in the week and a comeback win over near-ranked Siena, the Owls have put themselves in good position to start the 2009-2010 season. However, Fernandez admits that there’s still work to be done as the Owls prep for touch matchups with Virginia Tech and Villanova in the next month.
“I think we can still improve. This team is not 100 percent yet,” Fernandez said. “Today is a good win, and Georgetown would have been great, but we’re still trying to find each other and to play together, and I think we’ll get better.”
Game Notes: Former Owl and three-time Atlantic Ten Conference scoring champion Dionte Christmas was in attendance…Attendance for tonight’s game, Temple’s 2009-2010 home opener, was announced at 6,759.
Pete Dorchak can be reached at email@example.com.