PHILADELPHIA (AP) -Temple's style of basketball consists of more than just a shutdown defense. Turns out, when the Owls' two leading scorers can't buy a basket, the reserves know how to step in and score.
Ramone Moore had 14 points, Lavoy Allen added 12 points and 10 rebounds and No. 15 Temple beat La Salle 64-52 on Saturday before a crowd that included longtime coach John Chaney.
``We've gotten some really good contributions off the bench and we hope that continues,' Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. ``I don't think we can be successful without that. You need more than five guys ready to go.'
The Owls (18-4, 6-1 Atlantic 10) got key buckets down the stretch from their second-teamers during an 11-2 run that helped squash La Salle's upset bid. Moore and Rahlir Jefferson came off the bench and scored nine points during the run.
Temple needed the help with key starters slogging through uncharacteristic off games. Ryan Brooks and Juan Fernandez - the Owls' leading scorers - combined for only 14 points on 6 of 21 shooting. Micheal Eric scored 13 points.
The Owls bounced back from a 74-64 loss at Charlotte on Wednesday that ended their six-game winning streak and knocked them out of sole possession of first place in the A-10.
``It wasn't like that was a real let down for us by any stretch,' Dunphy said. ``They're a real good basketball team.'
Proving that preseason polls mean little once the meat of the conference season rolls around, the A-10 coaches picked the Explorers (11-10, 3-5) to finish above Temple. La Salle hasn't played in the NCAA tournament since 1992, while the Owls made the last two under Dunphy.
The Owls won't win many games against better competition shooting the 3 the way they did Saturday. They missed their first 10 attempts until Brooks hit one 8 minutes into the second half for a 45-35 lead. Temple entered making 34 percent of its 3-pointers. Fernandez and Brooks combined to miss 10 tries.
With the long ball not working, they aggressively attacked the lane to pile up points inside. Brooks dashed to the basket after a steal and was fouled as he tossed up a one-handed layup. His free throw made it 50-37.
Moments later, Jefferson burst through the lane for a three-point play and a 57-44 lead.
``Dump it inside or get to the basket,' Eric said. ``Every game it should be a mindset.'
Moore and Jefferson went 11 for 15 off the bench for 23 points.
``We were struggling a little bit offensively and Ramone Moore really bailed us out,' Dunphy said. ``Rahlir did a couple of good things as well, so I was really thrilled for them.'
The Explorers made six 3-pointers and got within six early in the second half. But injuries to key seniors have taken their toll on the Explorers and they simply didn't have the depth to compete with Temple's bench.
Rodney Green led La Salle with 13 points. Aaric Murray and Yves Mekongo each scored 11.
``The key to the game was to play good defense and get stops,' Eric said.
The Owls missed all nine 3-point attempts in the first half and still led 30-24 at the break. While the offense never clicked, the defense was as tight and tough as ever. The Owls rank sixth nationally in defense, holding teams to 57.1 points, and the Explorers missed 18 of 25 shots in the second half for their lowest point total of the season.
``We couldn't score on them,' La Salle coach John Giannini said. ``They were stronger inside. They're a well-coached offensive team that really knows their roles. It's a team and a program and a coach that I really admire.'
Nationally ranked defenses were a staple under Chaney.
The Owls honored him, along with former La Salle coach Speedy Morris and Villanova coach Rollie Massimino, who were inducted Friday into the Big 5 Hall of Fame. Morris and Chaney walked out to the court at halftime and were recognized for their honor.
There was a humorous moment when La Salle's T.T. Carey pulled off his warmup shirt - and took his jersey with him. He almost checked in with just an undershirt.
It was just another laugh Temple had La Salle's expense. Temple's student section enjoyed poking fun all game at La Salle, unraveling rollout banners that included, ``La Salle has 3 Ls. Your team has nine.'
Make it 10 courtesy of one of the best defenses around.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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