No. 18 Temple routs Bowling Green
Temple wound the clock back to the 1990s with a game in its old
gym, slashed ticket prices, and wore retro uniforms. Heck, there
was even a big old pay phone affixed to the wall across from the
Owls’ locker room.
The Owls didn’t have to rewind the videotape, though, to
relive the glory days. Fran Dunphy’s bunch is doing just fine in
leading Temple back to national prominence.
Ryan Brooks scored 19 points, Ramone Moore had 17 and No. 18
Temple won its sixth straight game, 63-39 over Bowling Green on
“There’s an extreme amount of excitement,” Brooks said.
And why not?
The Owls (10-2) used runs of 13-0 in the first half and 10-0
in the second to break it open and win in their first game as a
ranked team in the AP poll since 2001. The Owls played their first
game at former home McGonigle Hall since 1997. Tickets were $9,
concession prices were sliced, and the Owls wore classic uniforms.
There’s a more meaningful throwback going on with the Owls,
back to the days when they were regulars in The Associated Press’
college basketball poll and the NCAA tournament.
The Owls already have a win over then-No. 3 Villanova, and
undefeated No. 1 Kansas rolls into Philly on Saturday.
“We’ve put ourselves in pretty good position,” Dunphy said.
“But we’re not a team that if we lose a game, we’re going to fall
three spots, we’re going to fall mightily. So we really need to
concentrate our efforts.”
The Owls used the Dec. 13 win over Villanova to propel
themselves into the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2001. They
were ranked No. 16 in the 2001 preseason poll, dropped to 25th in
the first regular-season rankings, then vanished from the rankings
for eight years.
Temple is back and it wants to keep a number before its name.
“It’s been a hard road to get where we are and it’s going to
be an even harder road to get to try to stay there,” Dunphy said.
“We have some great games coming up against some really good
basketball teams and we haven’t even started our league yet.”
Students were out on break so the Owls moved the game from
the Liacouras Center to a half-block away at McGonigle where John
Chaney long roamed the sideline. They packed the old gym, selling
all 3,900 tickets and turned fans away. At their usual home, 4,000
would make for a dead environment. At McGonigle, the sellout crowd
livened up an Owls’ rout.
“It was a great atmosphere, great to kind of see how it was
back in the day,” Brooks said. “We were all looking forward to this
and definitely thankful for the opportunity we got.”
The Owls are in the poll and the football team plays Tuesday
in their first bowl game in 30 years. It’s a rare double-double of
national success for two programs that had their share of down
times this decade.
Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw said the school sold
their entire allotment of 5,000 tickets for the EagleBank Bowl in
Bowling Green gamely made a run at the Owls early in the
second half that trimmed a 19-point lead to 10. Craig Williams and
Brooks nailed 3s on consecutive possessions to spark the 10-0 spurt
that put this one away.
The Owls have used one of the top defenses in the country to
blow away preseason expectations. They held the Falcons to only 13
points by halftime, the fewest allowed in the first half by the
Owls this season. Temple was holding opponents to a nation’s best
54.1 points per game though the first 10 games, the lowest scoring
average by Owl opponents since the shot clock was instituted.
The Owls limited a team to under 45 points for the third time
during their winning streak.
The Falcons missed a whopping 20 of 24 shots in the first
half and were doubled-up on the boards, 22-11. The Owls barely had
to put a hand in their face as the Falcons rushed down and fired up
errant shot after shot.
Dee Brown led the Falcons (5-5) with 10 points.
“They play a different kind of defense,” Bowling Green coach
Louis Orr said. “You get the ball in a good place, but you don’t
score. You don’t get many easy shots.”
Juan Fernandez, who made so many clutch shots in the upset
over the Wildcats, hit a 3 that sparked a 13-0 run in the first
half. He scored 11 points and the Owls finished 10 of 23 from