When it comes to winning in Atlantic City, N.J., Temple appears
to have a monopoly.
The No. 24 Owls seek to reach the Atlantic 10 tournament final
for the fourth consecutive season when they face Richmond on
Saturday in a rematch of last year’s title game.
Winner of the last three tournament titles, Temple rolled to its
10th consecutive win at Boardwalk Hall on Friday, beating
Philadelphia rival La Salle 96-76 in a quarterfinal matchup.
“What we do, every time, is respect the game, respect the
opponent and respect each possession,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “I
don’t think it’s anything special about being here in Atlantic
City. I love this team, they’ve showed great resiliency. We’re in a
Dunphy’s Owls (25-6) won with a balanced effort. Ramone Moore
led the way with 23 points, Khalif Wyatt added 20, Juan Fernandez
had 19, Lavoy Allen finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds, and
Aaron Brown added 14 points.
However, the biggest key to the victory may have been ball
control. The Owls forced 22 turnovers while giving the ball away
only six times.
“Temple is as good a defensive team as there is,” La Salle coach
John Giannini said. “It’s unbelievable. They just do things right.
They have good players, but their whole is greater than the sum of
Richmond (25-7) wouldn’t likely disagree. Temple defeated the
Spiders 56-52 in last year’s conference title game. A rematch
earlier this season wasn’t nearly as close, as the Owls rolled to a
73-53 home win Feb. 17.
Moore had 24 points and Fernandez added 20 on 9-of-10 shooting
as Temple shot 55.6 percent from the field.
“I thought they played great and we played poorly,” Richmond
coach Chris Mooney said. “That’s a bad combination.”
The Owls have won 11 of 12 overall with the lone exception a
78-61 loss at then-No. 1 Duke on Feb. 23, but Mooney’s Spiders are
also on a roll entering this matchup. They’ve won a season-high
five straight since the loss to Temple, limiting opponents to 55.8
points per game.
Richmond had one of its finest defensive efforts in Friday’s
quarterfinals, beating Rhode Island 55-45. The Spiders held the
Rams to 36.5 percent shooting, helping overcome their own 32.1
percent effort. The 45 points were the fewest allowed by Richmond
against a conference opponent this season.
Senior guard Kevin Anderson led the Spiders with 21 points while
forward Justin Harper, also a senior, added 12 with 13 rebounds.
Anderson and Harper scored 15 and 14, respectively, last month at
The winner of this matchup will face Dayton or Saint Joseph’s in