Dick Jerardi: College Basketball Wrap: Bad day for Philly hoops

Dion Waiters scores for Syracuse.
Dion Waiters scores for Syracuse. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Posted: January 09, 2012

**AROUND THE CITY**

WHAT HAPPENED?:

Remember the perfect 5-0 Wednesday? This was the imperfect Saturday. Can't imagine the price on the exacta of Temple and Saint Joseph's each losing at home. The Owls never lose at home and the Hawks had been playing so well at Hagan that I was thinking they might not lose there this season.

TOO MANY POINTS:

Temple's defensive vulnerabilities did not show in its upset of Duke because the Owls shot so well and got surprise play up front. Well, they got crushed on the boards by Dayton, 39-27, did not get much up front, and lost, 87-77, in their Atlantic 10 opener. Temple (10-4, 0-1 A-10) gave up leads in each half and allowed 56 second-half points.

ENOUGH FROM THE GUARDS:

Temple's terrific guards (Ramone Moore, Juan Fernandez and Khalif Wyatt) combined for 60 points. That is going to work on most nights. Wyatt (28) was especially effective on offense, but the Flyers (12-4, 2-0) kept scoring and were 19-for-21 from the foul line.

WHERE DID THEY ALL GO?:

I understand that many in the giant crowd at Wells Fargo on Wednesday were there to see Duke, but, given how good this program has been for so long, I do wonder why just 5,172 appeared at Liacouras (where the Owls had won 25 straight) to see a team that has done nothing but win for five seasons now.

NOT ENOUGH POINTS:

Saint Joseph's played a perfect first half the previous Saturday at Harvard, but faded down the stretch. Suddenly, everything became difficult. The Hawks were very fortunate to win Wednesday at Duquesne but not so fortunate against Charlotte at home.

Playing from behind the whole game after trailing, 29-16, late in the first half, SJU finally caught up, had a five-point lead with 4 1/2 minutes left, promptly went 4 minutes without scoring and lost, 57-52.

The Hawks (11-5, 1-1 A-10) were 22 points below their average. If you had said before the game that Charlotte would score just 57, you would have thought it would have been a rout.

THE UGLY NUMBERS:

Charlotte (9-5, 2-0) is improved, but this is a game St. Joe's really figured to win. Charlotte shot just 33.9 percent from the field. But the Hawks only got to the foul line seven times opposed to 22 attempts for the 49ers. SJU had been shooting nearly 40 percent from the arc. They were 2-for-21 in this game. Langston Galloway was shooting 52.1 percent from the arc; he was 0-for-4. Bizarre.

CLOSE LOSERS:

SJU has proved to be an excellent frontrunner. Its five losses have been by a combined 29 points. They have actually had a chance to win every game. What does it all mean? This is a good, still young (no seniors, one junior) team that is not all the way there yet. Time will tell if it gets there.

**ACROSS THE COUNTRY**

HOW GOOD IS 'CUSE?:

Everybody will get to see Wednesday in South Philly. Dion Waiters especially is having a terrific season. He had 12 points, seven assists, three steals and a key block as the Orange (17-0) beat Marquette, 73-66.

BY THE NUMBERS:

-- Midway through the season, Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis still looks like the No. 1 pick in the draft. He is far from finished offensively, but the NBA loves numbers like his 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks against South Carolina.

-- Notre Dame was 0-6 away from home and shot just 31.7 percent at Louisville. But Mike Brey's team was tough when it had to be and found a way to win, 67-65.

-- West Virginia stopped Georgetown's 11-game winning streak. Kevin Jones had 22 points and 16 rebounds for WVU. In his last seven games, Jones has 81 rebounds.

DUKE'S DEFENSE:

How can this be said gently? Duke is not terribly athletic and that shows on defense. That is why Arizona ran them out of the NCAA last year. Last week, Temple shot 56.4 percent against the Blue Devils and then Georgia Tech shot 49.1 percent. Glen Rice Jr. had a career-best 28 points for Tech.

WINNNING ON THE ROAD:

Still a long way to get the program back to its roots, but Iowa already has two Big Ten road wins this season for local guy Fran McCaffery, coaching his second season there. The Hawkeyes won at Wisconsin and Minnesota. Reality in the presence of league bully Ohio State appeared in Iowa City on Saturday.

HE'S BACK:

Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun's three-game NCAA suspension for Big East games ended just in time for him to show at Rutgers, watch his team commit 20 turnovers and lose, 67-60. First time Rutgers has beaten two top-10 teams in the same season in 30 years. Don't tell anybody, but after beating Florida and before beating UConn, the Scarlet Knights lost at South Florida and got crushed by West Virginia.

GAMES OF THE DAY:

Well, there was Arkansas 98, Mississippi State 88. The teams combined to shoot 62-for-114 (54.4 percent) and 47-for-59 (79.7 percent), a nice appetizer for the four-overtime classic in Corvallis where Stanford outlasted Oregon State, 103-101. The teams combined to attempt 171 shots, shoot 65 free throws and get 99 rebounds. Don't know if President Obama stayed up to watch his brother-in-law Craig Robinson's OSU team.

MURRRAY IS SERIOUS:

Still not sure when, or even if, Murray State (16-0) is going to lose in the regular season. Isaiah Canaan scored his team's first 16 points on his way to 35 against Austin Peay.

COACH OF THE HALF-SEASON:

In no particular order, mine would be Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), Tony Bennett (Virginia), Steve Prohm (Murray State) and Kevin Willard (Seton Hall). I have no idea how UVA is 14-1, so Bennett has to be a major factor. In his first season, Prohm has not lost a game at Murray. Nice start to a career.

JERARDI'S TOP 15:

1. Syracuse (17-0): Led big at half (37-19) and held on late to beat Marquette, 73-66. 'Cuse will be at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday to play Villanova.

2. Kentucky (15-1): Coach Cal is now 44-0 at Rupp after his team shot 59.2 percent and beat South Carolina, 79-64.

3. Ohio State (15-2): Jared Sullinger (28 points) went off and the Buckeyes won easily at Iowa, 76-47, holding the Hawkeyes to 32.1 percent shooting.

4. Baylor (15-0): One of three remaining unbeatens was very efficient in 73-60 win over Texas Tech, attempting 47 field goals and 30 free throws.

5. North Carolina (14-2): Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller combined to shoot 18-for-27 and scored 45 points as the Tar Heels won their 27th straight at the Dean Dome, 83-60, over Boston College.

6. Murray State (16-0): Don't know how many people have seen Murray State. I have and these guys are really good. Shot 54.5 percent in 87-75 win at Austin Peay.

7. Missouri (14-1): Could not make any shots at Kansas State and lost its first, 75-59. Had a great run to get here and still a threat to play deep in March.

8. Michigan State (14-2): Weekend off, but has been playing great.

9. Indiana (15-1): Won at Penn State, 88-82, ending 16-game

Big Ten road losing streak.

10. Duke (13-2): Held off Georgia Tech in Atlanta to win, 81-74.

Defense got sliced up by Temple and Tech last week, showing serious vulnerability.

11. Kansas (12-3): Travis Releford got a career-best 16 points during the week, against Kansas State, and then went off for 28 in 72-61 win over Oklahoma.

12. Kansas State (12-2): Most people look at Frank Martin and see a screamer who looks like he is out of control. I see a guy who can really coach. Wildcats are very good again and held Mizzou to 32.7 percent shooting.

13. Seton Hall (14-2): The Pirates have to be one the season's surprise teams. Won at Providence, 66-57.

14. Louisville (13-3): 'Ville plays great defense, but is offensively challenged. Lost at home to Notre Dame, 67-65, in 2 OT.

15. Towson (0-16): Made 21 baskets in two losses last week, a feat that will be hard to match.

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