ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. (AP) -Temple's Ryan Brooks found himself without a point in the first half of the Owls' 73-55 victory over St. Bonaventure on Wednesday night.
Brooks, the Owls' leading scorer this season, turned it on in the second half and finished with 13 points, including six in a crucial run, as No. 21 Temple won for the fourth time in five games.
``I felt my team needed me to be more productive than I was in the first half, so I took a more aggressive approach and played with more confidence,' Brooks said.
While Brooks had the hot hand in the second half, teammate Ramone Moore scored 11 of his team-high 18 points in the first half.
Juan Fernandez scored 15 points for Temple (21-5, 9-2 Atlantic 10), which has won 12 straight meetings.
Jonathan Hall had 19 points and 10 rebounds for St. Bonaventure (10-14, 3-8).
Temple used a 10-2 run to take a 12-4 lead at 13:30 of the opening half and the Owls never trailed from that point. Temple, one of the nation's top defensive squads, has now allowed 55 or fewer points in 12 games.
St. Bonaventure cut the lead to three at 20-17 at 7:14 when Hall made two free throws. Hall sank two foul shots with 2:29 left to bring the Bonnies within two at 29-27, but Temple's Craig Williams added a 3-pointer from the corner for a 32-27 halftime lead.
St. Bonaventure cut the lead to one at 34-33 on a basket by Hall two minutes into the second half. But Temple responded with a 9-0 run, fueled by six straight points by Brooks for 43-33 lead.
``I didn't think we understand how important it is to play 40 minutes,' Hall said. ``Our major problem is our defense. The last four games, teams are shooting over 50 percent against us in the second half and that's what's beating us.
I just don't think we understand how hard it is to win in the A-10. I think we get so comfortable at halftime being up or being in the game. We haven't put together a 40-minute game this year.'
Temple made 15 of 26 field goals in the second, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range. The Owls finished the game making 28 of 58 field goals.
``I thought we played a good first half,' St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt said, noting his team held a 35-29 rebounding edge. ``We did the job inside. Against a team like Temple, you have to bring your 'A' game. We had a hard time keeping the guys in front of us and that was tough on us. They have very good perimeter players, talented players who can go off the bounce. In the second half, they hurt us.'
The teams traded baskets before an 8-0 Temple run as Brooks and Fernandez hit back-to-back 3-pointers, and a steal and dunk by Rahir Jefferson made it 54-39 with 11:43 remaining. Fernandez, in his second game back after sitting out one with a head injury, had 11 of his 15 points in the second half.
``I think, first of all, we came out with a little bit more energy,' Brooks said. ``We were committed to trying to get stops on the defensive side of the court. We hit some big shots. We had some open looks in the first half that we didn't hit and some key guys stepped up in the second half with some big shots.'
St. Bonaventure's last win over a ranked school came on Jan. 15, 2000, when it defeated No. 20 Temple 57-56 at the Reilly Center.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved