PHILADELPHIA -- The last time the Temple men's basketball team lost in front of a home crowd at the Liacouras Center, the starting five for the Owls was Lavoy Allen, Micheal Eric, Ryan Brooks, Juan Fernandez and Luis Guzman. The team, at 11-3 on the season, was ranked #18/19 at the time.
It was 2010 -- January 2nd, 2010, to be exact -- and the Owls had their seven-game winning streak snapped by top-ranked Kansas in a rare blowout, 84-52.
Today, as the 2011 squad tipped off at their home opener against Central Michigan University, only one player on the court had been on the starting roster last time the team lost -- Juan Fernandez.
It didn't seem to make much difference who took the court in today's 86-74 win over the Central Michigan University Chippewas. Five different players posted double-figures in points: Khalif Wyatt (23), Aaron Brown (21, a career-high), Ramone Moore (17), Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson (13) and Juan Fernandez (10).
With its unselfish play, the team extended its unbeaten streak at home to a total of 23 straight wins.
This 23-0 record, spanning three seasons, sets a building record for consecutive home wins at the Liacouras Center since the venue opened in 1997. The previous record of 22 straight home wins began nearly 13 years ago, and spanned from February of 1998 to December of 2000.
It's safe to say that home court is definitely an advantage for the Owls.
In fact there a few Owls that have never seen the team lose at home --namely sophomore Aaron Brown and redshirt-freshmen Jimmy McDonnell and Anthony Lee -- as the Owls logged a perfect record at home last year by going 14-0 at the Liacouras Center.
Including today's win, the Owls have now also won the past three consecutive home openers by defeating Siena (2009), Seton Hall (2010) and now Central Michigan.
The Owls will return to the Liacouras Center next Saturday to take on cross-town rival Villanova after a brief stint in Toledo for Wednesday's matchup. Last time the Owls and Wildcats clashed at home (in 2009), Temple escaped with a 75-65 win -- a streak they hope continues.
by Kami Mattioli, Owlsports.com Columnist