Owls come from behind, 79-72 over George Washington

Khalif Wyatt scored 14 of Temple's final 22 points after starting the game on the bench for being late to a study hall session.
Khalif Wyatt scored 14 of Temple's final 22 points after starting the game on the bench for being late to a study hall session.
Posted: February 09, 2012

It had all the signs of a humiliating loss for Temple.

Junior guard Khalif Wyatt didn't start after showing up late for study hall. The Owls were having a tough time stopping George Washington's Lasan Kromah.

To make matters worse, the struggling Colonials had a 10-point cushion with 5 minutes, 9 seconds left.

But that's when Wyatt took over.

The Norristown High graduate sparked a game-ending 22-5 run to lift the Owls to a 79-72 Atlantic Ten victory Wednesday night at the Liacouras Center.

Wyatt scored 14 points during the decisive run as Temple improved to 18-5 overall and 7-2 in the A-10.

The victory also extended the first-place Owls' winning streak to seven games.

"We were just making stops and my teammates were getting me the ball," Wyatt said of his late heroics. "I was just making the best of play. I was just trying my best to help us win."

Those points were crucial, considering point guard Juan Fernandez left the game with a left-hip pointer with 6 minutes, 38 seconds left. He is listed as day-to-day.

But Wyatt wasn't impressive in the first half, scoring six points on 1-for-4 shooting. He said being benched for the first 7:05 might have affected him.

"But my teammates were encouraging me," he said. "So I just put it behind me and tried to win."

This marked the third time this season Wyatt has been disciplined. The NCAA suspended him for the Owls' season opener at Penn for playing in an unsanctioned summer league. Then Wyatt was held out of the starting lineup at Toledo for showing up late for a film study.

Unfortunately for the Colonials (8-16, 3-7), Wyatt wasn't the only Owls standout.

Ramone Moore led all scorers with 25 points after making 3 of 6 three-pointers. The fifth-year senior guard also had four assists and two steals.

Kromah had 22 points to lead George Washington. But that wasn't nearly enough to end this season's skid. Wednesday marked GW's fifth straight setback and 15th in 19 games.

Early on, Temple looked more like the team that lost to Bowling Green and Richmond than the top squad in the A-10.

Moore, Wyatt and Fernandez combined to shoot just 3 for 12 in the first half. Taking advantage, the Colonials built a 14-point cushion with 1:15 before intermission. The Owls battled back, though, and closed to 67-62 on Wyatt's three-point play with 4:25 remaining.

Temple took a 71-69 lead on Moore's three-pointer with 2:45 to go. Wyatt went on to score the Owls' next six points to give them a five-point lead with 11 seconds left.

"You got to give credit to those guys," Moore said of the Colonials. "They came out playing pretty well and put us in a crazy predicament where we had to get ourselves out of a hole.

"I'm just glad we pulled a win out."

Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 610-313-7081 or kpompey@phillynews.com. Follow him @pompeysgridlock on Twitter, and read his blog at www.philly.com/OwlsInq

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