All that pregame talk about Oladipo being some kind of defensive stopper? More empty words. Wyatt ran by him and shot over him. When Crean put Remy Abell or Will Sheehey from his deep bench out there, Wyatt just kept scoring.
It is harsh, but unavoidably true: If any of his teammates had gotten hot, even a little bit, Temple would have been playing in Washington next weekend instead of Indiana.
But it never happened. Scootie Randall took 12 shots and missed them all. Jake O'Brien took only four and missed them all. Will Cummings was 0 for 5. Among the misses were enough layups to have buried the Hoosiers.
When Wyatt zipped a pass to Anthony Lee, all alone under the basket, the 6-foot-9 sophomore took his time making what should have been an easy layup or dunk for a 54-50 lead. Instead, Indiana senior Christian Watford had time to slide over and block Lee's casual shot. Lee got the ball back but was so rattled he missed another layup.
The Owls never scored again.
With time winding down, Oladipo popped open at the top of the key. Cody Zeller, the 7-foot sophomore who played like he was tumbling in a clothes dryer most of the game, fired a pass to him.
"I was just open and I shot it," Oladipo said. "I didn't think about it."
For more than 39 minutes, Wyatt had overshadowed Oladipo. With that single three-point shot, Oladipo stole the day. When the clock stopped, Wyatt walked back to the Temple bench with a look of utter disbelief on his face.
He fired up one last three-point shot. That was it. The game, the season, his career ended at the buzzer.
Crean saw the Temple players gathered and couldn't help himself. He stuck his head into their huddle.
"I have great respect for great competitors," Crean said. "Those kids, those young men don't know me and I really don't know them, but I have unbelievable respect for them because I have great respect for their coach. I just told them they were as tough a team as we had seen all year. It was an unbelievable honor to go to battle with them."
For Temple, a win would have ranked among the greatest in the long history of the program. It would have been the most impressive of Fran Dunphy's tenure. And so the pain is proportionally as great as the thrill would have been.
"I couldn't have been more proud of how the team competed today," Dunphy said. "It's disappointing we're not going to be moving on, but I would have all good things to say and feel and remember about this team."
Dunphy looked drained. He's had most of these guys for four or five years. To see them come so close to such a great accomplishment, then have it snatched away in moments - well, it couldn't have been easy for the coach.
Crean and his players looked every bit as drained. They had survived a near-death experience and they knew it. And they also knew that Khalif Wyatt was the best player on the floor all game long.
"As good a player as we've faced all year," Crean said.
"He's a great player," Oladipo said, "and he's going to be a great player in the future, as well."
He meant in the NBA, and he's right. If Wyatt can't play in the NBA, there's something wrong with the NBA. He proved that in the biggest games of his career.
Wyatt deserved all of them, deserved every bit of praise.
But what he really deserved was one more game in a Temple jersey. What he really deserved was to win.
Contact Phil Sheridan
at email@example.com. Follow @Sheridanscribe