Defense disappears as Billikens fall to Temple

Defense disappears as Billikens fall to Temple

Published Jan. 12, 2012 12:30 a.m. ET

With less than a minute to play, Temple guard Ramone Moore stood just inside half court dribbling the ball with his right hand while calmly motioning for his team to relax with his left.

Moments earlier, a layup by Dwayne Evans pulled Saint Louis within four and momentum appeared shifted in favor of the Billikens.

Coach Majerus stood on the opposite side of the court just outside his coaches box, pointing and barking instructions to his players as they prepared for a pivotal defensive stand.

As the clock ticked down to the final 45 seconds of the game, Moore drove down the right side, pulled up, and nailed a game-clinching jumper from just outside the lane.

Kwamain Mitchell hit a late three-pointer to pull the Billikens within three but clutch free throws by Moore sealed a big conference road victory for Temple (11-4, 1-1 Atlantic 10) and a tough home loss for Saint Louis (13-4, 1-2).

Khalif Wyatt scored a game-high 22 points for Temple and Moore finished with 18, five of which came in the final minute of the game.

"We did a good job on their point guard and he was frustrated all night," Majerus said. "But then their two wings Wyatt and Moore, we knew they were going to be issues for us. They are issues for a lot of teams.

"We have got to give them a lot of credit. They are a really good team."

Defensive stops were a crutch all night for Saint Louis, who couldn't get the big stops when they needed them most. The Billikens entered the night as the nation's fifth best scoring defense, yielding an average of 54.7 points per game. 

"We needed to be tough," junior guard Kwamain Mitchell said. "We weren't hitting shots at times, and when we aren't hitting shots, we need to be tight on defense."

Senior forward Brian Conklin added, "We have to be tougher the last 5 minutes of the game, because there are going to be a lot of games in conference that come down to the last 5 minutes and we have to get stops. We are not doing that right now. "

Mitchell finished with 16 points - 13 of which came in the second half - on 6-16 shooting to lead Saint Louis. Dwayne Evans contributed 14 points and 8 rebounds while Jordair Jett and Brian Conklin each chipped in with 12.

The Billikens have lost three of their last four and will try to rebound Saturday when they travel to Charlotte.

"We can't feel sorry for ourselves," Conklin said. "We have Charlotte Saturday. We have to learn from our mistakes."