Courtesy of OwlSports.com
AMHERST, MA – The Cardiac Owls do it again! Temple posted an 83-82 win over Massachusetts Saturday night at the Mullins Center. Five Owls scored in double figures led by arguably the hottest player in the country, senior guardKhalif Wyatt, who topped all scorers with 24 points.
It was a Temple record fifth straight one-point game for the Owls. According to STATS, LLC, the streak is the longest in the nation by a Division I team, and longest until at least the start of the 1996-97 season. STATS, LLC does not have data going further back then that season.
The Owls improve to 17-8, 6-5 in Atlantic 10 Conference play, while the Minutemen fall to 16-8, 6-5.
Wyatt, who is now averaging 25.2 points over the last 11 games, made eight straight points, including two deep threes, for Temple in one stretch to give the Owls their first lead of the second half, 58-57. It was part of a stretch for the TU playmaker that included two more threes as he scored 14 of the Owls 18 points in a seven-minute period.
But this was far from a one-man show as this road victory over a Top 50 RPI team (#45) had many authors.
Junior Dalton Pepper (6 pts), who is starting to find a rhythm offensively, made two late lay-ups, one on a nifty steal and basket to give the Cherry and White a 72-66 lead with 6:07 on the clock.
Senior Scootie Randall (11 pts), who started the game by draining two “threes” in the first two minutes, made perhaps the biggest shot of the game when he connected on a trey from deep in the right corner with 1:25 remaining to make it 83-79 and keep it a two possession game.
Or how about Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson. The 6-6 junior forward almost recorded the first triple double since Pepe Sanchez (1998), scoring 10 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing a career-high eight assists.
Still, with all of that, it took one final defensive stop to seal the win. After UMass used its final timeout with 17 seconds left, the Owls did not allow the Minutemen to get off a final shot. Hollis-Jefferson appeared to strip the ball from Williams at the top of the key. A scramble then ensued and a jump-ball was called with the clock at 0.0.
The officials went to replay and determined the game was indeed over and the Owls had posted their third A10 road win, and sixth on the season (6-4).
Freddie Riley, who was deadly all night from the perimeter (5-9 3pt), led UMass with 17 points. Williams added 16 points and 13 assists while Cady Lalanne came off the bench to contribute 14 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.
The Owls shot 48 percent from the field and were 12-of-22 (54.5%) from three-point range. Temple also dished 21 assists on their 31 baskets while turning the ball over just eight times.
Temple next hosts La Salle (18-6, 8-3) Thursday at the Liacouras Center (7:00 p.m./CBS Sports Network/1210 AM WPHT) in a key A10/Big 5 showdown. With a win the Owls (2-1 Big 5) will share the Big 5 title with the Explorers (3-0), who clinched their first city-series title since 1990 with their 76-64 win over Saint Joseph’s Saturday.