Temple men's basketball coach Fran Dunphy was asked after his team's critical 82-74 win over La…
Owls Dump Charlotte
The answer: Pretty good after the Owls destroyed host Charlotte, 71-51, on Sunday to win for the third straight time since the setback against the Dukes.
"The Duquesne game was tough, but we did a great job putting it behind us," said the Owls' leading scorer Khalif Wyatt. "We're starting to play good and play better defense."
Following wins at Massachusetts and home against La Salle, the Owls have a three-game winning streak for the first time since starting the season 6-0. The reason was defense – finally, defense – holding the 49ers to 27 percent shooting and 27 points less than they scored in Temple's 89-88 win at the Liacouras Center in a game earlier this month.
Temple shot 10-of-24 from the three-point line while Charlotte hit just 1-of-12.
"The first time we played them our defense was not very good," said Dunphy. "Fortunately we were good offensively. We talked about it, knew it would be tougher to score the second time around.
"We stepped up and made shots, (Scootie) Randall was great and the defense was really solid today. We doubled down a little bit (on Charlotte forward Chris Braswell, who was held to four points). It was a very good defensive effort today."
Temple is 19-8 overall and 8-5 in the Atlantic 10, making strides on improving its NCAA Tournament resume and putting itself in position to contend for one of the conference's four first-round byes at the Atlantic 10 Tournament in Brooklyn. Charlotte fell to 18-8, 6-6.
Randall led the way with 18 points and it was the fourth straight game he found himself in double digitis. He is 22-of-43 from the field in the stretch after struggling with his shot for a good part of the season.
Temple also received 12 points from Wyatt, 10 from Jake O'Brien and a solid nine-point, 28-minute effort from reserve guard T.J. DiLeo.
If the Owls can count on a more consistent Randall and overall defensive effort the rest of the way, they'll stand an excellent chance of achieving their goal of returning to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth straight year.
That was a goal that seemed like a bit of a long shot after the stunning loss to Duquesne.
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