Yet, somehow, you still had that feeling.
And sure enough, the Colonials managed one basket the rest of the way, with 17 seconds left. It was their second of the closing 8 minutes, and by then it was too late, despite the fact it got them to within three. Five seconds later, Khalif Wyatt made two free throws. At 4.1 seconds, Ramone Moore canned two more. And the Owls, with a 50-point second half that included 17 in the final 4 minutes and change, had a 79-72 victory at the Liacouras Center that kept them alone atop the Atlantic 10 standings.
They knew they probably didn't deserve to win. Doesn't matter.
"We were very fortunate," said Fran Dunphy, whose team will next host preseason favorite Xavier on Saturday night. "If you're going to have a good year, there's going to be a couple where you get lucky. This is one of them.
"You don't want to rely on this kind of performance by your team. You can be tough at the start [too]."
Duly noted. The Owls (18-5, 7-2 A-10) started without Wyatt, who missed a study hall this week. He finished with 22 points in 28 minutes, including nine in that late spurt. He took only nine shots, but made 12 of 13 at the foul line.
"I tried not to let [the benching] affect me, but maybe it did early on," he acknowledged. "My teammates kept encouraging me. I had to put it behind me and try to win. When we [finally] got some stops, it led to easy baskets.
"I try to read how they're guarding me. If they play tight, I'm going by them. If they give me space, I'll shoot the jump shot. I just try to make the best play. We knew we were going to have a run. When we made our run, we made it. We showed some toughness down the stretch. That's good for us."
Moore, the only player in the A-10 with a higher scoring average than Wyatt, had a game-high 25. He got all but eight after intermission. And he hit 10 of 12 freebies.
"That's Khalif's game," Moore said. "He draws a lot of fouls and and-ones. He got the run started. We want the ball in his hands at the end."
Actually, T.J. DiLeo, who was in for Fernandez, got things rolling with a left-wing trey off a pass from Moore. Moments later, he came up with a baseline steal that led to a Wyatt basket in the lane to make it a one-point game. Then, a Moore triple from straightaway, assist to Rhalir Hollis-Jefferson (team-best nine rebounds), put Temple ahead with 2:45 left, and for the first time since 11-10. It also put Temple ahead to stay.
"We can't live without T.J. DiLeo," Dunphy said. "Whether he plays 2 minutes or 22. It's always about the team. He deserved that."
GW (8-16, 3-7), which lost ballhandler Tony Taylor (six assists) to fouls with 5:46 left, got 22 points, or a little more than twice his average, from Lasan Kromah on 8-for-12 shooting. But his last field goal came with 8 1/2 minutes remaining. The Colonials shot 56.7 percent in the first half, 37.9 thereafter. The Owls, meanwhile, went from 32.1 shooting in the opening 20 minutes to 51.9 in the next. Freshman Anthony Lee had seven boards in 17 minutes off the bench.
Dunphy said Fernandez is probably "day-to-day."
The Owls would obviously rather have him, especially against Xavier. But if they don't, they'll play with what they have. That approach has served them well the last two seasons when dealing with their many injury issues.
"You have to let the last play go, and try to move forward," Moore said. "It crossed my mind a little bit [that we might lose]. Games like this are going to occur. We made some plays at the end and pulled it out. If we come out [against Xavier] like we did tonight, I think it would be a different result. I think it's one of those games where the crowd's going to be into it. We have to come prepared. We'll look at our mistakes and go on. Basically, that's it."