Temple (18-8) at Charlotte (18-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, February 24, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Halton Arena (4,200) -- Charlotte, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: Temple 11-3, Charlotte 11-2. Away Record: Temple 6-4, Charlotte 4-5. Neutral Record: Temple 1-1, Charlotte 3-0. Conference Record: Temple 7-5, Charlotte 6-5. Series Record: Temple leads, 8-5.
GAME NOTES: The Temple Owls will look for a series sweep of the Charlotte 49ers as they match up in a key Atlantic 10 Conference bout at Halton Arena on Sunday.
The first matchup of the 2012-13 season between these schools went down to the wire with Temple emerging as the victor with an 89-88 decision in Philadelphia. Khalif Wyatt scored 25 points, including a clinching free throw in the closing seconds to lead Temple, while Jake O'Brien paced the 49ers with 22 points. Charlotte trailed by 13 points in the first half of the contest before it rallied to tie up the game before the intermission.
Fran Dunphy's Owls notched their second win in a row on Thursday as they knocked off their cross-town rival La Salle Explorers, 82-74, to improve to 18-8 on the campaign. Temple is one of the teams currently projected to be on the fringe of receiving an at-large bid in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, making every game that much more crucial. Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson was sensational against the Explorers earlier in the week as he pushed the team to victory with 23 points, 18 rebounds and five assists.
Hollis-Jefferson was not the only productive Owl versus La Salle. Scootie Randall also registered a double-double with 15 points and 10 boards, while Wyatt, who leads the A-10 in scoring (19.7), chimed in with 17 points. Temple connected on 50 percent of its field goal tries including 5-of-16 from beyond the arc as it denied the Explorers their first outright Philadelphia City series title since 1990.
Charlotte is coming off of a 76-58 road loss to the A-10 leading Saint Louis Billikens that lowered it to an 18-7 overall record and 6-5 in A-10 play. Pierra Henry led the 49ers in the setback with 15 points. Charlotte announced on Friday that DeMario Mayfield was dismissed from the team for violation of athletic department policy. Mayfield has been suspended since January 30. He was averaging a team-high 11.7 points with 3.6 rebounds this season. He recorded 14 double-figure scoring games this season and 33 for his career.
Alan Major's squad does not have a standout star like Wyatt. Chris Braswell paces a group of seven 49ers posting 5.7 points per game or more with 11.7 ppg. Major has shown he trusts his reserves, who have outscored their opponent's bench in 20 of the last 24 games. Charlotte has also outscored 20 of its previous 25 opponents in the paint. Henry is a very versatile and athletic point guard. The sophomore is contributing 9.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.8 steals per tilt.
This one should be another exciting battle between a pair of squads who can not afford too many more losses. The Owls are a decent team on the road, but they will have to overcome a 49ers squad that thrives at Halton Arena.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Charlotte 76, Temple 72
02/24 10:31:12 ET