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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 28, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Liacouras Center (10,200) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Detroit 13-2, Temple 11-3. Away Record: Detroit 6-8, Temple 7-4. Neutral Record: Detroit 0-0, Temple 1-1. Conference Record: Detroit 11-4, Temple 8-5. Series Record: Detroit leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: Non-conference foes will meet at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia on Thursday night, as the Temple Owls entertain the Detroit Titans.
The game was originally scheduled for Dec. 28 as part of the Gotham Classic but was rescheduled because of weather-related issues.
Following a thrilling Tuesday night win at home against Loyola-Chicago (76-75), Detroit clinched the No. 2 seed in next week's Horizon League Tournament, which results in an crucial double-bye. The Titans have now won seven of their last nine games to climb to 19-10 overall and 11-4 in conference.
Since suffering a terrible home loss to last-place Duquesne on Feb. 14 (84-83), Temple has gotten back on track with three straight victories, most recently collecting an outstanding road win at Charlotte last Saturday, 71-51. The Owls are 19-8 overall and 8-5 in the tough Atlantic 10 Conference, and they will have a great chance to ascend in the standings by closing out the regular season with matchups against Rhode Island, Fordham and VCU.
These two teams have met just once before, with Detroit winning way back in 1968.
After coughing up a nine-point halftime lead, Detroit trailed Loyola in the waning seconds its last time out but Jason Calliste converted the game-winning layup as time expired to lift the team to a dramatic victory. The Titans shot 50 percent from the field in the first half, but only 40.7 percent in the final 20 minutes. They kept the game close by dominating the turnover battle, 15-6. Ray McCallum played all 40 minutes and cashed in with 22 points, five assists, five rebounds and two steals, Nick Minnerath tallied 21 points and Doug Anderson finished with 14.
Not only are the Titans the Horizon League's top scoring team, but they at tied for seventh in the nation as they pour in 78.9 ppg, and they are led by the efforts of McCallum. The favorite to be named the HL Player of the Year, McCallum shoots greater than 50 percent from the field for a league-high 19.1 ppg, while ranking second in both assists (4.7 pg) and steals (1.9 pg). Minnerath (15.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Calliste (13.9 ppg) are also stellar scoring options, with the pair combining for 111 3-pointers. Rounding out the double- digit scorers is Doug Anderson, who nets 11.7 ppg on nearly 54 percent shooting.
Temple jumped out to a 15-point halftime lead over Charlotte last time out, and never looked back as it outshot the 49ers from the field in the blowout victory, 48.3 percent to 27.4 percent. Scootie Randall shot 7-of-12 from floor, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, for a team-high 18 points. Khalif Wyatt scored 12 points and dished out seven assists, while Jake O'Brien took advantage of 22 minutes off the bench to log 10 points.
The Owls have one of the most potent scoring offenses in the A-10, netting 71.7 ppg, and their scoring defense, which ranks a distant 12th (67.4 ppg) is strong enough for them to sport a +4.3 scoring margin. Wyatt is the league's top scorer with 19.4 ppg, and he does a lot of his damage from 3-point range (61-of-177) as well as the free-throw line (138-of-169). He also ranks among the league leaders in assists (4.1 apg) and steals (1.6 spg). Complementing Wyatt is an impressive trio of forwards in Randall (11.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg), Anthony Lee (10.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and Rahlir Hollis Jefferson (9.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.8 spg, 1.2 spg).
While this late-season matchup won't affect either team's standing in their respective conferences, it is a crucial resume' builder as both have NCAA Tournament aspirations. In what is sure to be a high-scoring bout, Temple gets the edge at home, especially considering Detroit's modest road effort this season (6-8).
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Temple 81, Detroit 75
02/28 10:36:18 ET