Better Late Than Never

Ramone Moore scored 25 points

Khalif Wyatt didn't start, Juan Fernandez didn't finish and the Temple men's basketball team found itself in an unexpected dogfight against George Washington on Wednesday night. The Owls overcame a 15-point second-half deficit to defeat the Colonials, 79-72, for their seventh straight win.

Khalif Wyatt didn't start, Juan Fernandez didn't finish and the Temple men's basketball team found itself in an unexpected dogfight against George Washington on Wednesday night.

The Owls overcame a 15-point second-half deficit to defeat the Colonials, 79-72, for their seventh straight win. Ramone Moore scored 25 points and Wyatt — who sat the first seven minutes after being late for a study hall session — finished with 22, including 12-of-13 from the free-throw line.

"I tried not to let (the benching) affect me, but maybe I did," said Wyatt. "I got warmer, my teammates encouraged me and I put it behind me.

"We started getting stops and that led to easy offense. We started slow, GW was playing real good, but we knew we were going to have a run and we made it."

Fernandez suffered a hip pointer — he is day-to-day — and sat out a little over the last six minutes of the game with T.J. Dileo contributing a big three-pointer and a couple steals in his place.

Temple maintained its hold on first place in the Atlantic 10 with an 18-5 overall mark and 7-2 league record. GW fell to 8-16, 3-7.

"GW deserved to win the game, we were very fortunate to win that," said Temple coach Fran Dunphy. "If you're going to have a good year, there are going to be games you have to get lucky and I think this was one. We were poor all the way around, somehow we found a way to win the game. ... The tide just turned and we made some huge shots."

It looked like a huge upset was brewing as the Colonials took a 41-29 lead into the half and they held a 10-point lead with 5:11 left in the game.

But Wyatt made two baskets and a free throw and DiLeo drained a three for his only basket of the game to make it 69-65 with 4:16 to play. Wyatt then stole the ball and hit a free throw, and a DiLeo steal led to a Wyatt jumper and one-point deficit.

"We can't live without T.J. DiLeo," said Dunphy. "He can play two minutes or 22, he's all about the team."

Moore's three-pointer with 2:53 put the Owls up, 71-69 and Wyatt tacked on four more points for a six-point advantage that capped a 13-0 run. GW's Lasan Kromah made a three with 17 seconds left to stop the run, but Temple finished the game at the free-throw line.

"I think getting (GW guard) Tony Taylor out of the game (with his fifth foul at the 5:46 mark) was big, we pressured their ball-handlers and got easy baskets," said Moore. "Games like this are going to occur sometimes. We didn't deserve to win, didn't play well, but made a couple plays to win it."

The Owls now turn their attention to a big matchup Saturday against Xavier, which has won at least a share of the A-10 regular-season title the last five years and is in the mix again this season.

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