Loss to Richmond leaves Temple's Dunphy wary

Posted: February 12, 2010

Temple hasn't played since last Saturday at Richmond, where the Owls' nationally ranked defense was shredded during the first half by the Spiders.

The hosts, who shot their way to a 71-54 victory, made 17 of 22 field goal attempts during the first 20 minutes, including eight of 11 from three-point range.

It was 44-26 at intermission.

"We didn't defend in the first half, and they made us pay for it," said Temple coach Fran Dunphy, whose team is 19-5 and ranked 21st in the country.

With a game tomorrow against another dangerous foe in visiting Rhode Island, Temple is one of four teams bunched at the top of the Atlantic Ten standings with two losses in the league play. The Owls, who are 7-2, are joined by Charlotte, Richmond and Xavier, who all are 8-2 in the A-10.

Temple has a win at home over Xavier and a loss at Charlotte.

At 19-4 overall and 7-3 in the conference, Rhode Island is lurking behind the leaders.

When the Rams hosted the Owls on Jan. 10, they dropped a riveting, 68-64 decision in overtime after 14 ties and nine lead changes. Rhode Island was up, 35-30, at halftime.

"We played well, but we were fortunate to win that game up there," Dunphy said. "That's a very good basketball team. They're going to guard you for 94 feet and pressure you."

Rhode Island is led by 6-foot-4 guard Keith Cothran (15.6 ppg.), 6-8 forward Delroy James (13.6 ppg., 5.6 rpg.), and 6-6 forward Lamonte Ulmer (12.1 ppg., 7.3 rpg.).

Fernandez questionable. Sophomore guard Juan Fernandez, who scored 18 points against Rhode Island the last time and nailed a key three-point jumper in overtime, continues to recover from a blow to the head a few weeks ago that left him with concussion-like symptoms.

"He hasn't been 100 percent since," said Dunphy on Wednesday. "He's day-to-day. He hasn't been practicing."

Moore steps up. Sophomore Ramone Moore made his first career start in Fernandez's spot against Richmond, and tied his career-high with 17 points.

The 6-4 Southern High graduate came off the bench as usual in the Owls' previous two games, and led the team in scoring when he totaled 14 points against La Salle, and 15 against Duquesne.

The smooth Moore, who had been playing 14.6 minutes a game, is averaging 6.0 points and has played in all 24 outings.

"Ramone is a good scorer, but he needs to improve his jumper, and defensively," Dunphy said. "He's getting an opportunity with Juan out, and he's showing that he can score the basketball."

Family day at Temple. In celebration of a birthday of Hooter the Owl - the Temple mascot - other area mascots will take part in activities before the Rhode Island game, at halftime and after the final horn.

Contact staff writer Kevin Tatum at 215-854-2583 or ktatum@phillynews.com.

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