Scootie Randall scores 21 as Temple tops Richmond

STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Temple great Hal Lear and wife Maggie watch as Lear's retired No. 6 is unveiled in the rafters of the Liacouras Center during halftime of Wednesday night's game against Richmond.
STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Temple great Hal Lear and wife Maggie watch as Lear's retired No. 6 is unveiled in the rafters of the Liacouras Center during halftime of Wednesday night's game against Richmond.
Posted: February 01, 2013

IF SCOOTIE RANDALL turned a corner in Saturday's loss at Butler, the senior took another big step toward correcting his recent shooting slump on Wednesday night.

Randall scored 21 points, tying his second-highest mark of the season, to help Temple get back in the win column with a 71-64 victory over Richmond at the Liacouras Center. With the victory, the Owls avoided their first sub-.500 month in 6 years.

"A lot of games we let slip away so I think tonight was a big one for us," Randall said. "Coming into the game it was just like, 'We've got to get this. We're gonna start off from here.' We can't look at the past. It's all about how we finish, and we're trying to finish as best we can."

Randall scored 14 of his points in the first half, a mark he hadn't reached for an entire game since going for 21 Dec. 5 at Villanova. His effort helped the Owls jump to a 13-point lead late in the first half. They led by eight at the break.

Richmond (13-9, 3-4 Atlantic 10) opened the second half on a 17-7 run to take the lead, sparking a back-and forth battle for nearly the remainder of the game. After a Randall layup tied the game at 61, neither team scored for 4 minutes.

Temple (14-6, 3-3) finally ended that drought with just more than 3 minutes left. Khalif Wyatt caught the ball beyond the three-point line, pump-faked to throw off the defender and then let it fly. His three-pointer was good and gave the Owls a lead they would not relinquish.

Wyatt filled out the stat sheet with 19 points, a career-high seven rebounds and five assists.

"I think Wyatt is just a tremendous basketball player," said Richmond coach Chris Mooney, a Philadelphia native. "So incredibly savvy and such a great feel for the game and obviously making big shots as well."

Anthony Lee tallied his fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and a career-high 13 boards for Temple, which shot 55.6 percent in the first half and 48.1 percent for the game. The Owls played well on defense, holding the Spiders to 39.6 percent shooting. Randall said if the Owls continues to step up defensively, their offensive production will take care of itself.

The strong performance was good timing for Randall, as he is walking in Temple's commencement ceremony on Thursday after completing his course work in December.

"I've been playing basketball a long time, so I know that even the great people, they struggle," said Randall, who shot 8-for-13 and 3-of-5 from three-point range. "So I'm thankful I've got great teammates to support me and I think that I just made shots today and it's going to continue to just get better."

"That would be nice if it's over and done with and we're moving on," coach Fran Dunphy said of Randall's recent slump. "I think he was feeling pretty good about himself there. But very pleased for him as well. He's going to graduate and it'll be very nice for he and his family."

The victory also means Temple and Saint Joseph's enter Saturday's matchup coming off wins. Hagan Arena will be the place to be come 6 p.m. Saturday.

"It's a Philly game," Wyatt said. "We know all their guys. They know all of us. We know all of their sets. They know all of our sets. So it's just going to come down to just playing the game and sticking together with your teammates."

Lear honored

At halftime, Temple retired Hal Lear's No. 6 in the rafters of the Liacouras Center.

Lear, the MVP of the 1956 Final Four, is only the fourth Temple men's basketball player to have his number retired. Guy Rodgers' No. 5, Mark Macon's No. 12 and Bill Mlkvy's No. 20 are the only other numbers retired.

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