PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (1/28/12) – The feathers usually fly when the Temple Owls and the Saint Joseph’s Hawks meet on the basketball court. This time Temple took flight early and cruised to a 78 – 60 win over Saint Joseph’s at the Liacouris Center. The Owls got 38 points from their senior guard combination of Ramone Moore with 21 and Juan Fernandez, 17, to get their 4th Atlantic 10 win of the season in front of 10,302 at the Liacouris Center. This was the second largest crowd to see a game in the history of the arena.
Temple got off to a good start for the second straight game, much like they did at Charlotte. Fernandez scored the first 7 points for Temple. The Owls trailed 8 – 7 at the 14:51 mark. Then Cherry and White exploded going on a 21 – 4 run taking a 28 – 12 lead with 6:35 to play in the first half. Moore led the charge scoring 12 of the points during the run. Fernandez added 5 points in that stretch. Going into the locker room Temple held a 38 – 24 lead. Only three Temple players scored. Moore had 17, Fernandez 15, and center Michael Eric added 6 points. The fast start set the tone for the Owls.
“It’s always important if you can get a lead from the start,” Fernandez said. “It always helps you, if you can keep it up. Against Charlotte the other day. We started with an 18 – 1 run. It was similar. We kept the lead the whole game. It’s something we have to learn to take advantage of, look who is shooting the ball well at the beginning, and do a good job of realizing that.”
“Juan (Fernandez) came out firing at the beginning of the game,” said Moore. “We extended the lead that we did a great job of maintaining the whole game. It was a big win for us.”
In the second half Temple erased any hopes of a Saint Josep’s comeback as they started the second half with a 14 – 4 run. Junior guard Khalif Wyatt led the scoring in the run with 8 points as the gap grew to 24 points at 52 – 28 with 16:55 to play. Also instrumental in the deciding segment of the game was Redshirt Freshman forward Anthony Lee with two big baskets. The largest Temple lead was 28 points.
Junior guard Khalif Wyatt scored 10 points and had a career best 8 assists. Eric contributed 11 points. Temple shot 60% for the game (30 – 50) which was their highest shooting percentage this season.
One of the bright spots for Saint Joseph’s was the play of Sophomore forward Ronald Roberts. He continued his outstanding play by scoring 17 points and grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds. Roberts had 5 offensive and 5 defensive rebounds. He was the only double figures scorer for the Hawks as Sophomore guard Langston Galloway was limited to 7 points, and Junior guard Carl Jones scored 5. Saint Joseph’s made only 3 of 14 attempts from beyond the arc. The Hawks out-rebounded Temple 34 – 27, 15 – 3 on the offensive glass which gave the team an 18 – 4 edge in second chance points.
“Our defense on the perimeter was good,” said Temple Coach Fran Dunphy. “I thought we talked well, we were aggressive, we switched well, we denied well. We didn’t battle as well as we wanted to with their offensive rebounding. We have been hurt by guys like Roberts before. That’s something we’ll give attention to. Overall, I was pleased with our performance.”
Temple improves to 15 – 5 on the season, 4 – 2 in conference play. It is the 10 straight win for the Owls in this series. Saint Joseph’s drops to 13 – 9, 3 – 4 on conference. The game did not count in Big Five play as the official city series game will be played on Hawk Hill on February 5, 2012. Saint Joseph’s Coach Phil Martelli acknowledges that this game was as much a Temple win as a Saint Joseph’s loss.
“The final score doesn’t indicate how we were dominated,” said Martelli. “They dominated us. It’s not like we gave up. We got waxed. We have to get angrier on the court.”
Each team will resume play on February 1, 2012 at Temple hosts Fordham, and Saint Joseph’s travels to Richmond.
“In the Atlantic 10 anybody can beat you at any time if you’re not on your game,” said Dunphy.
Written By: Glenn Papazian