Temple Defeats Wagner, 70-62 To Open Season 5-0 For First Time Since 1987-88

Temple Defeats Wagner, 70-62 To Open Season 5-0 For First Time Since 1987-88

Box Score

 | Box Score (PDF) | GalleryDunphy Video | Players Video

PHILADELPHIA— Temple improved to 5-0 to start a season for the first time in a quarter century on Saturday by defeating the Wagner Seahawks (2-4), 70-62, at the Liacouras Center. In what was by no means an easy task, the Owls overcame an early eight-point deficit to secure the victory . Senior Khalif Wyatt went 9-of-16 from the field to put up a season-high 26 points, which was just two shy of his career-best.  Senior Scootie Randall also reached double-figures, having a 10-point day, along with nine boards.

The Owls fell behind 10-2 to start the contest as sophomore forward Anthony Lee, the team's top rebounder, picked up two early fouls in the first three minutes.  A three-point play by Wyatt kick-started a 10-0 run by the Owls to give the hosts a 12-10 lead.  Graduate forward Jake O'Brien, who replaced Lee in the lineup, had five of his eight points in the run.

An Eric Fanning (12 pts) trey allowed the Seahawks to regain the lead briefly, but a Wyatt lay-up and a Randall three, one of seven in the half for Temple, put the Owls back in front, 17-13.

It was a lead Temple would not relinquish, but one it would work hard to maintain.

Consecutive three-pointers by freshman guard Quenton DeCosey pushed the margin to eight (31-23), with under three minutes left in the half.  Wagner then ran off five straight points to cut the deficit to 31-28, and had the ball with 40 seconds on the clock.  Graduate guard T.J. DiLeo then made a steal and Wyatt drained a pull-back trey at the buzzer to give TU a 34-28 edge at the break and momentum heading into the locker room.

The Owls would open the lead to nine points (42-33) on a pair of free throws by sophomore guard Will Cummings (7 pts, 3 assists) at the 15:39 mark, but the Seahawks quickly whittled it back to five (44-39) on a dunk by Jonathan Williams (15 pts).  Temple then came back to extend the margin to double-figures, 54-44, for the first time in the contest on a Randall lay-up with just under eight minutes to play.

The teams traded baskets before a 9-4 Wagner run culminated by a Williams trey to cut the margin to five (60-55) with 1:45 remaining.  Wyatt then drained a huge three and converted a free throw a minute later to make it 64-55.  Fanning answered with a conventional three-point play, but Randall found senior forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson in the paint, who produced his own three-point play.  Dileo (2-2) and Wyatt (1-2) made three of four free throws in the final seconds to close out the win.

Temple shot better from behind the arc (9-19, 47.4%) than from inside it (16-38, 42.1%) in the game.  The Owls also turned the ball over a mere seven times while forcing 12 Seahawk miscues.

Temple (5-0) will open Philadelphia Big 5 play Wednesday when it meets Villanova at the Pavilion for a 9:00 p.m. tip (ESPN2/1210 WPHT AM). 

Print Friendly Version