Well it is all over, but at least it is a win. In a non-enthusiastic game the Temple Owls (19-15) finished the season with a 65-54 win over Syracuse in the NIT consolation game.
While the Owls were unable to make the Big Dance — the first time since 1989 — they did make the most of their stay in the NIT. In this game the Owls used a roster they are not used to with senior Lynn Greer sitting for his third straight game since his injury at Louisville, and senior forward Kevin Lyde playing only the first nine minutes of the game.
Temple received a huge game out of sophomore guard David Hawkins. He finished the game with 20 points, with the Owls getting points from him when the game was on the line.
With 10 minutes to go, the Orangemen came within three points — that is before Hawkins went on a scoring spree, scoring 11of the next 13 points for the Owls to seal their third place finish. Chipping in for the team was also seldom used forward Greg Jefferson, as he scored 14 points, one point off his career high, which he scored in the NCAA tournament last season.
Senior guard Preston Shumpert led Syracuse with 21 points and Philadelphia native and freshman Hakim Warrick added 12 points. But poor shooting from the foul line and the floor spelled the end of the season for Syracuse.
The Orangemen finished the game at a dismal 8-21 from the foul line in contrast to Temple who finished 20-23.
“If they stayed close on making those foul shots, the game could have come down to the flip of a coin,” Temple coach John Chaney said.
The missed free throws allowed Temple to go on a 15-0 run early in the second half, which also was the start of a six-minute scoring drought for the Orangemen. The beginning of the game was the start of the Orangemen’s scoring drought as they were held without a basket for the first four-and-a-half minutes, missing their first seven shots.