Dick Jerardi: College basketball wrap: Owls almost perfect

Posted: January 30, 2012

AROUND THE CITY

NEVER CLOSE

The final score really does not tell the story of Saint Joseph's-at-Temple. The Owls won, 78-60, for their 10th straight in the series. It was 72-44 with 3 1/2 minutes left. Before the subs came in, Temple had just five turnovers and could not have played much better.

Juan Fernandez went off early. Then Ramone Moore went off. And it was over quickly. Fernandez had 15 of his 17 points in the first half. Moore had 17 of his 21 in the first. Fernandez has made eight of 11 threes over his last three games. Moore is playing like somebody that wants to keep playing deep into March.

How efficient was Temple (15-5, 4-2 Atlantic 10)? The Owls were 30-for-50 (60 percent) from the floor and 8-for-15 from the arc.

And, by the way, big man Micheal Eric looked very good in just his third game back, scoring 11 points.

LOOK OUT

With the calendar turning to February, Temple appears to be hitting its stride. I think the Owls are now the favorite to win the league regular season and perhaps the tournament. There were 10,302 in the house to see the best of the Owls so far. I think there is more to come.

NO CHANCE

The Hawks (13-9, 3-4) were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They got overwhelmed. Ronald Roberts had 17 points and 10 rebounds, but nobody else got to double figures.

STILL ONLY HALFWAY

Temple is 4-0 against Big 5 teams, but only halfway home in the City Series. Because of a quirk in the schedule, the Owls must play three of their four official City Series games on the road. They will have to beat SJU and La Salle again to get a sweep, this time in their gyms.

GREAT START, BAD FINISH

Villanova played beautifully to take a 28-10 lead on Marquette after 10 minutes at the Wells Fargo Center. Unfortunately, the rules state you have to play 30 more minutes. And that was too many for the Wildcats, who ended up losing, 82-78.

The 'Cats (10-12, 3-7 Big East) were 9-for-15, 5-for-6 from the arc and 5-for-6 from the foul line in those first 10 minutes and just 16-for-45 overall after that.

Darius Johnson-Odom (26 points) went off for Marquette (18-4, 7-2), which kept coming until it went in front.

KEY MOMENT

'Nova still led 69-65 when Maalik Wayns got a technical foul for arguing an out-of-bounds call. Marquette scored the next eight points and never looked back.

THE UGLY NUMBERS

A terrific crowd of 15,878 saw a wild game that looked like it might never end. The teams combined for 125 field-goal attempts, 57 free-throw attempts, 36 turnovers and three technicals. The game also had several reviews, a long injury stop, a net problem and even a rare official challenge to a non-flagrant foul call by Marquette coach Buzz Williams. He lost the challenge and a timeout. Good thing he lost the timeout. The game started at noon. When it finally ended, Delaware-Drexel, which began at 2 p.m., was down to just 4 minutes until halftime

DRAGONS STILL ROLLING

After beating Delaware, 71-55, at the DAC, Drexel has won nine straight and 15 of 16. Last week, the Dragons (17-5, 9-2 Colonial) beat the only teams to beat them in December (Delaware) and January (Georgia State).

Samme Givens (23 points, 10 rebounds) played big, as did point guard Frantz Massenat (19 points, five assists, no turnovers).

THE GOOD NUMBERS

Drexel shot 25-for-53 (47.2 percent) and 19-for-24 (79.2 percent) from the free throw line. When they hit those kinds of numbers, the Dragons are almost impossible to beat.

Delaware is 9-12, 5-6. Monte Ross' team is clearly better, but has had several mind-numbing close losses in the league. This was not like those. This was just Drexel playing great again.

WINNING ON ROAD

La Salle led by seven in the first half, trailed by nine in the second, led by seven with barely 2 minutes left, was tied seconds later, got a three-point lead very late and finally won at Duquesne when Tyreek Duren blocked Jerry Jones' three-point attempt at the buzzer. The Explorers (16-6, 5-2 A-10) shot 51.9 percent in their 71-68 win. Duquesne (12-9, 3-4) is a difficult team to play because of its frenzied style. La Salle is now in a three-way tie for first in the A-10.

Earl Pettis had 20 points for La Salle. Ramon Galloway (15 points, 10 assists) had the critical three-point play late. The Explorers are closing on their first 20-win season in 20 years. Their six losses have been by a combined 32 points so they have had a chance to win every game they have played.

ACROSS THE COUNTRY

WORST NON-CALL

There was an obvious goaltend missed at the end of Syracuse-West Virginia. The layup attempt went off the glass and was on its way to the basket when it was blocked. It was about as easy a goaltend call as an official will get.

Should have been tied in the final seconds. Instead, Syracuse, which shot 4-for-20 from the arc and got crushed on the glass, 41-20, held on to win.

"Somebody has to see that," Bob Knight said on the broadcast of the Arizona-Washington game.

Agreed. Well, everybody on the WVU bench saw it, as did everybody watching on television. The officials apparently did not see it.

BEST CHANT

That was the Missouri fans screaming for Dorial Green-Beckham, the super high school wide receiver from Springfield, Mo.

MOST SHOCKING STAT

Towson shot 48.9 percent in its win, the first since Dec. 29, 2010 at La Salle. That was the night a La Salle fan asked me if they were going to drop the sport. Ye of little faith. Check out your Explorers now.

NO CLUE

If somebody asked me to name my Final Four today, I could do it. But it would be a not very educated guess. I don't have much faith in any of the teams in the Top 10. Every one of them has significant holes. I had a very sharp coach tell me a few weeks ago that Syracuse was a cinch to win the championship. I like them, just don't love them.

JERARDI'S TOP 15

1. Kentucky (21-1): Suffocated the Tigers at LSU and won, 74-50. Terrence Jones had 27 points and nine rebounds.

2. Syracuse (22-1): Very fortunate to beat West Virginia in the Carrier Dome, 63-61, in front of a cool 28,740.

3. Murray State (21-0): Shot 51 percent as stars Isaiah Canaan and Donte Pool each had 18 points in a 73-58 win over Eastern Illinois. A sellout crowd of 8,673 saw the Racers remain the nation's only unbeaten.

4. Missouri (19-2): Oulasted Texas Tech, 63-50, at home after losing at Oklahoma State earlier in the week.

5. Ohio State (19-3): Held Michigan to 35.8 percent shooting in 64-49 victory yesterday.

6. Baylor (19-2): Perry Jones III had 22 points and 14 rebounds in a 76-71 win over Texas. J'Covan Brown had 32 points for UT.

7. Kansas (17-4): Was upset at Iowa State, 72-64. KU is very dependent on two players so it could go early in the NCAA.

8. Duke (18-3): Coach K was not happy with his team's 83-76 home win against St. John's, which now starts five freshmen.

9. North Carolina (18-3): Scored 93-81 win over Georgia Tech last night, behind 23 points from Harrison Barnes.

10. Michigan State (17-4): Off on the weekend. Plays at Illinois tomorrow.

11. UNLV (20-3): Survived 65-63 in OT at Air Force as Mike Moser had 27 points and 12 rebounds.

12. Creighton (20-2): Shot 54.5 percent in 73-59 over Bradley. A school-record crowd of 18,436 saw Doug McDermott get 24 points.

13. Virginia (17-3): Made a defensive stop on the final possession to win 61-60 at North Carolina State.

14. Florida (17-4): Shot 11-for-24 from the arc in a 69-57 win over Mississippi State after big comeback win at Mississippi on Thursday.

15. Towson (1-22): Ended Division I-record 41-game losing streak with 66-61 win over UNC Wilmington before an overflow home crowd of 881.

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