PHILADELPHIA, January 21, 2012 – The Temple Owls men’s basketball team used the play making ability of their three guards to earn a 73 – 60 win over the Maryland Terrapins of the ACC in a matinée game at the Palestra in Philadelphia. It came down to key plays late by the “Big Three” to allow the Owls to withstand then stretch the lead to get the victory. Senior guard Ramone Moore scored 2o points. Senior guard Juan Fernandez added 14 points and 5 assists. Junior guard Khalif Wyatt had the big game scoring 20 points on 8 of 16 shooting while handing out 7 assists. It was their innate ability to take the right shot, make the right pass, or come to the right decision that gave the Owls.
“We have guards who’ll make good decisions no matter who is in the game,” said Temple Coach Fran Dunphy.
“Their basketball IQ is as good as anybody that I have coached over the years. Those three guys are as good as anybody I coached. They look for one another, and as good as scorers as they are, they enjoy passing the ball just as much.
“They (Temple) have so many guys who are good with the ball, so smart, hard to guard,” said Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon. “They ran their sets, they play inside out with penetration. But they are so smart with the basketball. Their basketball IQ is off the charts.”
Temple had 20 assists on 27 baskets. Moore, Wyatt, and Fernandez accounted for 13 of the assists.
“That’s what we try to do, be unselfish as we can, and we have three guys who do a good job of that,” said Dunphy. “They all want to score, and we need them to score, but they all like to give it up as well. That is part of the reason why we are difficult to guard.”
Their leadership was needed late in the game. Temple came out in the second half with a 32 – 29 lead. That lead grew to 12 at 50 – 38 six and a half minutes into the half. Maryland began their comeback. Temple Sophomore guard Aaron Brown netted a three with 11:57 to play giving his team a 55 – 45 lead. That would be the last basket for the Cherry and White for over four and a half minutes when a layup Moore broke a 9 – 0 Maryland. Prior to Moore’s basket the Terps got to within 55 -54. Guard Terrell Stoglin kept Maryland within one at 57 – 56. The “Big Three” came up big. Wyatt and Moore hit back to back threes. After a three-pointer Fernandez answered with a basket from beyond the arc that stretched the Owls lead to 66 – 59 at the 3:26 mark.
Later in the half Moore missed a layup at the 1:57 mark, but grabbed the offensive rebound to keep possession. After a timeout Moore converted a layup as Temple moved in front 70 – 60 with 1:25 on the clock. A steal by Fernandez and a fast break layup by Wyatt sealed the game for Temple. Moore credited experience as the key factor in Temple’s ability to keep the lead despite Maryland having all of the momentum.
“We’ve been in plenty of tough situations throughout the year,” said Moore. “In the timeout I told the guys ‘we’re good’ we got a lot of good shots, we just didn’t make them.”
Redshirt Freshman Anthony Lee scored 12 points and had a team-high 8 rebounds. The Owls held a 17 – 4 edge in points off turnovers.
Stoglin scored 20 points for the Terps. Guard Pe’Shon Howard added 15. Forward James Padgett chipped in 10 points while guard Sean Mosley took down a game-high 10 rebounds.
The game featured the return of center Michael Eric from injury. It was an opportunity to remove the rust playing seven minutes. He missed his only shot, but Dunphy was glad he took it.
Written By: Glenn Papazian