Saturday, December 10, 2005
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - With a win over a Top 25 team out of the way, Temple is thinking big. Someone scrawled on the chalkboard in the locker room: "NCAA tournament. No excuses."
With the 3s falling and the sizable crowd rocking, it was easy for the Owls to imagine a return to the glory days was possible.
Dustin Salisbery hit four 3-pointers and scored 20 points, and Antywane Robinson had 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead Temple to its first win over a ranked team in three years, 68-58 over No. 22 Alabama on Saturday.
"We're looking at the bigger picture. It's a great confidence boost, but we've got to use it as another stepping stone to get where we want to be at,'' Robinson said. "That's been the big picture ever since I got here. It's one of those things where we feel we have all the components on the team, we've got to gel together, mesh together to get to the NCAA tournament.''
The win was reminiscent of the old days when coach John Chaney was routinely leading the Owls (5-2) deep into the NCAA tournament instead of settling for the NIT.
Chaney loves scheduling the toughest teams around to prepare his team for the postseason, but a steady string of losses against the elite has kept the Owls out of the NCAA tourney the last four years.
"It's my first ranked win since we've been here and it's a big one for us,'' Salisbery said.
Mardy Collins scored 15 points, Mark Tyndale had seven assists and the Owls committed only three turnovers in their first win over a ranked team since beating No. 10 Indiana on Dec. 28, 2002.
"You keep rolling the dice and sometimes it happens,'' Chaney said.
The Owls also achieved a more modest goal, winning three straight games for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
Jean Felix scored 19 points and Jermareo Davidson grabbed 10 rebounds for Alabama (4-3). The Crimson Tide lost to an unranked team for the second time this week, following a 78-71 loss to Notre Dame on Wednesday.
Even with a three-guard starting lineup and no true all-around threat in the middle, the Owls outrebounded Alabama 37-31, an impressive feat against a Crimson Tide team averaging 38.3 rebounds.
"For us to have a couple of guys that blocked out and got on the boards and ended up with more rebounds then them, that's something that I never expected would have happened,'' Chaney said.
The Owls relied almost exclusively on the 3-pointer in the first half, even though they were shooting only 35 percent from 3-point range coming into the game.
Salisbery sandwiched two of his 3s around only the second one from Tyndale this year for a 13-7 lead and the Owls started to take off. Alabama hung around for a while because of its own 3-point accuracy - at one point the teams traded 3s on four straight possessions, energizing the crowd - until the Owls turned the game into their own little shooting contest.
Collins, Tyndale, Salisbery and Robinson hit successive 3s midway through the first half, making Temple 9-for-16 at that point and giving the Owls a 33-20 lead.
Alabama closed with an 11-4 run to trail 35-31 at the half and a made a brief rally late in the second, but it wasn't enough.
"They controlled the tempo,'' Alabama coach Mike Gottfried said. "It's hard to get them out of their rhythm.''
With nine 3s in the half, the Owls fell one shy of their season-high 3-point total. The Owls only made one 3-pointer in the second half and finished 10-for-26 overall.