The Temple men’s basketball team stunned No.24 Xavier Wednesday night 67-56 in one of the most impressive outings of the season. The win couldn’t come at a better time with the Atlantic 10 Tournament only a week away.
“Every game we play from here on in are championship games,” coach John Chaney said. “We’ve really had our feet in quicksand the whole year and to win a game against Xavier is a great thing to do.”
Temple (12-13, 9-4 A-10) handed the Musketeers (19-5, 11-2) their second conference loss this season. With the help of center Kevin Lyde, Temple held A-10 player of the week Romain Sato scoreless.
“When Kevin comes to play it makes a difference,” Chaney said. “We have him sitting in the middle of that nest in our zone and [Lyde] played [Sato] up high and he played him up low. He came to play and this is probably the first game he’s come to play all year.”
This was one of Lyde’s most memorable performances of the season. He worked the post on Musketeer forwards Kevin Frey and David West. Lyde had his way with both of them, sometimes at the same time. He finished with nine points and seven rebounds before fouling out with five minutes, nine seconds left in the game.
St. Bonaventure (16-8, 8-5 A-10) at Temple (12-13, 9-4)
When: 4 p.m.
Where: Liacouras Center
Coaches: St. Bonaventure: Jan van Brenda Kolff (190-136);
Temple: John Chaney (668-251)
Key players: SB: J.R. Bremer (Sr. G 25.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg), Marques Green (Soph. G 15.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg),
Temple: Lynn Greer (Sr. G 22.4 ppg, 3.4 apg), David Hawkins (Soph. G 15.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg)
Outlook: Temple looks to avenge an early season, 93-74 loss to the Bonnies. This time, the Owls will have a healthy Alex Wesby in the lineup. The Bonnies shot 48.7 percent from behind the arc in the last meeting. Patricio Prato connected on 8-of-12 3-point attempts for the Bonnies. Hawkins led Temple with 25 points in the loss.
Senior guard Lynn Greer led the Owls with 20 points, senior forward Alex Wesby had 18 and David Hawkins had 11. Lionel Chalmers led Xavier with 15. Dave Young and West both scored 12.
This matchup had more hype than originally expected and the Owls played with the cohesiveness that make up championship teams.
They used the shot clock to their advantage, sometimes scoring on second and third options.
Temple played a sound defensive game, limiting West and making solid rotations in the matchup zone.
They went after every rebound as if it were a free ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
Wesby was a big part of the early run in the first half. He came up on defense to pressure the guards and got a steal within the first minute of the game.
Wesby found most of his shots off of the Owls’ motion offense, fading and curling off screens set by Lyde and senior Ron Rollerson, who gave Temple quality minutes throughout the game.
The Owls went into the half leading 35-26 and didn’t suffer their usual second half letdown. They kept the intensity and pressure up the entire 40 minutes.
Temple built a 20-point lead with 12:12 left in the game with a thunderous dunk by Rollerson off a nice feed by Greer, which sent the crowd into an uproar.
Greer controlled the offense and the tempo of the game and displayed the patience that a senior guard would in big games. Greer had three assists and created scoring chances for his teammates, sometimes running the shot clock to under 15 seconds.
“We have a lot of options in our offense and sometimes we just go too fast and drive, but tonight we used all our options and got good shots,” Greer said.
The starting rotation the Owls used against Xavier — Lyde, Rollerson, Wesby, Greer and Hawkins — has only been used four times this season.
“I guess I might have expected too much of them because we had players on the court who have not been together,” Chaney said. “I’m just a little bit upset that when we came together we didn’t play together like we should.”