PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Juan Fernandez saw the shot clock ticking down, fired a long 3 and - clank.
Hey, few shooters are perfect, though Fernandez was about as close as one can get.
Fernandez missed one shot in 30 minutes, scored 20 points and No. 23 Temple used a 16-0 run to batter Richmond 73-53 on Thursday night.
Fernandez, the most outstanding player of last year's A-10 tournament, had this season derailed by injuries and a shooting funk that had his teammates peppering him with words of encouragement.
He played like his old self against the Spiders, shooting 9 of 10 from the field. He made his open looks and scored all his points without a trip to the free-throw line. When the baskets went in, his confidence went up.
``You miss because you think too much,' Fernandez said. ``You've got to grab the ball and throw it up there without thinking. Hopefully it's the start of something new, personally.'
The Owls (20-5, 10-2 Atlantic 10) need Fernandez to become a regular scoring threat again after losing starting forward Micheal Eric for the season with a fractured right patella suffered during Tuesday's practice. Eric was second on the team in rebounding (5.9) and blocked shots (1.6) and averaged 7.1 points.
``That's pretty devastating for a young guy,' Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. ``You don't worry about the team. The team has this resiliency about them. You worry about the kid.'
Eric wasn't needed in this one, but Temple was counting on his interior presence to help get them out of the first round of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001.
The Spiders were one of the hottest road teams in the nation and the Owls had dominated on their home court. Temple kept its streak going, winning its 20th straight home game.
Richmond (20-7, 9-3) snapped an eight-game road winning streak, the second-longest in the nation.
Temple's defense produced 10 turnovers and the Spiders were simply forcing poor shots down the stretch in a feeble effort to catch up.
The Owls are chasing Xavier for the A-10 title and could win it if the Musketeers slip in the final games. The Owls won their seventh straight game.
Dunphy refused to think about a potential A-10 championship.
``I'll watch this game and I'll think about how well we played and some things I think we can do a little better,' he said.
He'll have to look hard to find flaws.
Ramone Moore scored 24 points for the Owls, who haven't lost at home since Jan. 2, 2010, against No. 1 Kansas. Moore helped the Owls crank the pressure in the second half.
Moore's steal-turned-dunk made it 46-33 and forced reeling Richmond to call timeout.
It didn't help the Spiders.
Moore pump-faked a defender, took one step up and made a 16-footer from the baseline.
Lavoy Allen promptly blocked a shot on Richmond's possession and Khalif Wyatt converted a three-point play to make it 51-33.
The Spiders blew a chance to stop the run, but missed two easy shots at the basket - something Fernandez did not do when he made an uncontested 3 for his fifth field goal on five shots to cap the 16-0 streak.
The Spiders at last ended the run, just not the rout.
The Owls shot close to 60 percent from the floor for most of the first 30 minutes and easily clinched their fourth straight 20-win season under Dunphy.
``They were able to score fairly easily,' Richmond coach Chris Mooney said.
Allen had eight points and seven rebounds after sitting out a 75-63 win over Dayton with a sprained left ankle.
Kevin Anderson led Richmond with 15 points and Justin Harper had 14.
Temple set the pace from the start. Fernandez and Moore hit 3s during an early 9-0 run and the Owls soon followed that with an 11-2 spurt that put them up 28-16 against one of the top road teams in the nation.
T.J. DiLeo picked a defender clean near Richmond's 3-point arc and streaked toward the basket for the layup. He certainly made the 76ers' group in the house proud, including his dad, who works in the front office, and coach Doug Collins. Collins cheered the Owls from two rows behind their bench.
``We're in a nice stretch here, but we've got a long way to go,' Dunphy said.
Dan Geriot chipped away at Temple's lead on a 3 with 18 seconds left that made it 38-29 at halftime.
Moore hit three 3s and scored 13 points in the half for the Owls.
``I thought they played great and we played poorly,' Mooney said. ``That's a bad combination.'
The Associated Press News Service
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