Temple keeps slim NCAA hopes alive by beating UMass

Temple's Khalif Wyatt scored 24 points against UMass Saturday. (Clem Murray/Staff Photographer)
Temple's Khalif Wyatt scored 24 points against UMass Saturday. (Clem Murray/Staff Photographer)
Posted: February 18, 2013

AMHERST, Mass. - Teams with Temple's resumé generally have a slim-to-zero chance of getting an at-large bid in the NCAA basketball tournament.

But the Owls are holding out hope after Saturday's 83-82 victory at the Mullins Center.

That game provided a much-needed bounce-back victory for Temple (17-8, 6-5 Atlantic Ten), which suffered a disappointing home loss to lowly Duquesne on Thursday.

"It's really important," coach Fran Dunphy said of the victory over the Minutemen. "We did not play well at home against Duquesne. Duquesne had a lot to do with that. They're really coming on.

"It wasn't surprising they got us. We're just inconsistent enough to not win that game at home."

That loss marked Temple's third home setback to a team it was heavily favored to beat. As a result, the Owls need to make several strong showings as the season winds down to make a case for a bid.

Saturday was a start.

"We have to be as solid as we were in the second half on the defensive end, and we have to really be efficient on offense," Dunphy said. "We have a tough week coming up with La Salle at home [Thursday], and at Charlotte [Sunday]. This presents a tremendous challenge for us."

The Explorers (18-6, 8-3) have won four straight and eight of their last 10 games. The 49ers (18-7, 6-5) are 11-2 at home. The Owls escaped with an 89-88 home victory over Charlotte on Feb. 6.

"We can win them all," guard Khalif Wyatt said of the Owls' six remaining regular-season games. "We want to win them all.

"We are going to take them one game at a time. And we are just going to try to finish as strong as we can."


Contact Keith Pompey at kpompey@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @pompeysgridlock.

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