CHARLOTTE, NC – Temple jumped out to a 17-1 lead and never looked back in defeating host Charlotte, 79-57, Wednesday night for its first-ever win at Halton Arena. Senior guard Ramone Moore tallied 18 points to lead four double-figure scorers as the Owls won their third straight game to improve to 14-5, 3-2 in A10 play. Charlotte falls to 10-9, 2-4.
Moore was joined in double figures by sophomore guard Aaron Brown, who scored 16 points off the bench, junior guard Khalif Wyatt (12 pts) and senior guard Juan Fernandez (10 pts). Wyatt and Moore each dished six assists while Wyatt also tied his career-high with five steals.
Fernandez, who tied Mardy Collins (182, 2002-06) for 10th place on the all-time three-pointers made list, moved into ninth place on TU’s all-time assists list with 383, passing Mik Kilgore (380, 1998-92).
Graduate center Micheal Eric had a strong game off the bench with game highs in rebounds (9) and blocks (3) while scoring six points in 17 minutes.
Charlotte was playing without its standout freshman point guard, Pierra Henry (7.6 ppg., 3.3 apg., 3.7 spg.), who suffered a MCL sprain of his left knee in practice this week. They also were missing reserve forward KJ Sherrill (3.2 ppg.), who was suspended for the game for undisclosed violation of team rules.
The way the Owls jumped out, it is doubtful that if Charlotte had LeBron James it would have factored much in the outcome.
The 49ers missed their first 12 shots of the game, finally connecting on their first field goal attempt with 9:41 remaining in the first half. The very vocal Charlotte student section, who chanted “I Believe..” prior to the game, greeted the hoop with mock cheers.
That basket made the score 20-5. Javarris Barnett added another score to cut it to 20-7, but that would be the closest the 49ers would come in the contest.
Temple went on an 11-2 run to bolster the lead to 31-9, and would take a 38-18 advantage into the locker room.
Barnett, who led Charlotte with 14 points, opened the second half with a three-pointer, and the 49ers would cut the deficit to 15 (40-25), before the Owls ran off nine straight points on the strength of Wyatt (5 pts) and Moore (4), to make it 49-25.
The lead would increase to a high of 33 (76-43), before head coach Fran Dunphy emptied the bench.
Senior walk-on Jake Godino, rewarded with a scholarship earlier in the month, connected on a three-pointer to close out the Owls scoring.
Temple next takes on Saint Joseph’s at the Liacouras Center Saturday (4:00 p.m./The Comcast Network/1210 AM WPHT).