Rhode Island (8-18) at Temple (20-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 2, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Liacouras Center (10,200) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: None. Home Record: URI 5-9, Temple 12-3. Away Record: URI 3-7, Temple 7-4. Neutral Record: URI 0-2, Temple 1-1. Conference Record: URI 3-10, Temple 8-5. Series Record: Temple leads, 56-15.
GAME NOTES: The Temple Owls attempts to finish the season strong down the stretch, as they welcome the Rhode Island Rams to the Liacouras Center for Atlantic 10 Conference action on Saturday afternoon.
Fran Dunphy's Owls picked up their 20th win of the season Thursday with a thrilling 83-78 victory over non-conference foe Detroit. The victory was the fourth straight and sixth in the last seven games for Temple, which enters this contest at 8-5 in A-10 play, good for a fifth-place tie with Xavier.
Dan Hurley's first season in Kingston has lacked a great deal of highlights, although they are just one of two A-10 teams to post a victory over league- leading Saint Louis this season (Temple was the other). The Rams enter this contest with a two-game skid, having lost to Xavier (55-42) and La Salle (72-65) to close out February. The losses dropped URI to a mere 3-10 in conference play, ahead of only Fordham and Duquesne in the conference standings.
Temple owns a sizable 56-15 advantage in the all-time series with Rhode Island and has won six straight over the Rams, and 19 of the last 23 meetings, overall.
Rhode Island got 18 points from Xavier Munford and 15 each from Nikola Malesevic and Mike Aaman, but it wasn't enough in a seven-point loss to the Explorers. The Rams were outrebounded 37-31 in the game and outscored at the free-throw line, 17-8.
Scoring hasn't come easy for Rhode Island this season, with the team netting a mere 61.8 ppg, doing so on a mediocre 40.1 percent shooting. The lack of scoring has not been Munford's fault, as he currently leads the team and ranks second in the conference with 17.3 ppg. Malesevic is the only other Ram currently in double figures at 10.6 ppg, although Andre Malone and Mike Powell are close with 9.7 and 9.4 ppg, respectively.
Khalif Wyatt is a legitimate A-10 Player of the Year candidate who leads the league in scoring (19.4 ppg) and ranks seventh in assists (4.2 apg). Wyatt Scootie Randall is second in the scoring column at 11.5 ppg and teams with Wyatt to give the Owls a pair of long range threats, as the two have combined for 114 of the team's 204 3-pointers to date. Anthony Lee rounds out Temple's top scoring threats with 10.6 ppg and is tops on the team in rebounding (7.2 rpg).
Wyatt was held scoreless in the first half against the Titans but certainly made up for it after the break, netting 20 points over the final 20 minutes to lead the Owls to a come-from-behind victory. Three others joined Wyatt in double figures, with Randall adding 18 points, Jake O'Brien tallying 16 points and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson recording a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Temple shot just .375 from the floor in the first half, but upped that to a sizzling 55.6 percent after the break to earn the win.
The Rams haven't shown the consistency needed to win a game like this one on the road. Temple is trying to strengthen its tournament resume and should be able to move in the right direction with another win here.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Temple 73, Rhode Island 59
03/02 10:33:09 ET