PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Ramone Moore (above) scored 24 points, Juan Fernandez had 20, and #23 Temple used a 16-0 run to batter Richmond, 73-53, on Thursday night.
The Spiders were one of the hottest road teams in the nation and the Owls had dominated on their home court. Temple (20-5, 10-2 Atlantic 10) kept its streak going, winning its 20th straight home game.
Richmond (20-7, 9-3) snapped an eight-game road winning streak, the second-longest in the nation.
Fernandez made his first seven shots before missing a desperation attempt as the shot clock expired.
Temple’s defense produced 10 turnovers and the Spiders were simply forcing poor shots down the stretch in a feeble effort to catch up.
The Owls are chasing Xavier for the A-10 title and could win it if the Musketeers slip in the final games.
Temple’s victory was brief consolation for injury news before the game. The Owls lost starting forward Micheal Eric for the season with a fractured right patella suffered during Tuesday’s practice. Eric was second on the team in rebounding (5.9) and blocked shots (1.6), and averaged 7.1 points.
He wasn’t needed in this one, but Temple was counting on his interior presence to help get them out of the first round of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001.
The Owls, who haven’t lost at home since Jan. 2nd, 2010 (against No. 1 Kansas), cranked the pressure in the second half.
Moore’s steal-turned-dunk made it 46-33 and forced reeling Richmond to call timeout. It didn’t help the Spiders.
Moore pump-faked a defender, took one step up and made a 16-footer from the baseline.
Lavoy Allen promptly blocked a shot on Richmond’s possession and Khalif Wyatt converted a three-point play to make it 51-33.
The Spiders blew a chance to stop the run, but missed two easy shots at the basket — something Fernandez did not do when he made an uncontested 3 for his fifth field goal on five shots to cap the 16-0 streak.
The Spiders at last ended the run, just not the rout.
The Owls shot close to 60 percent from the floor for most of the first 30 minutes and easily clinched their fourth straight 20-win season under coach Fran Dunphy.
Allen had eight points and seven rebounds after sitting out a 75-63 win over Dayton with a sprained left ankle.
Kevin Anderson led Richmond with 15 points and Justin Harper had 14.
Temple set the pace from the start. Fernandez and Moore hit 3s during an early 9-0 run and the Owls soon followed that with an 11-2 spurt that put them up 28-16 against one of the top road teams in the nation.
TJ DiLeo picked a defender clean near Richmond’s 3-point arc and streaked toward the basket for the layup. He certainly made the 76ers’ group in the house proud, including his dad, who works in the front office, and coach Doug Collins. Collins cheered the Owls from two rows behind their bench.
Dan Geriot chipped away at Temple’s lead on a 3 with 18 seconds left that made it 38-29 at halftime. Moore hit three 3s and scored 13 points in the half for the Owls.
(Copyright 2011 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)