By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Temple will be looking for a third straight win on Thursday night as they host Duquesne at the Liacouras Center.
Now if there is any team that knows first hand just how competitive the Atlantic 10 is this season, it’s the 16-7 Owls (5-4 in the A-10).
Temple has played three straight one-point games, winning the last two, including a 72-71 decision at Dayton on Saturday.
“It was a really good win for us, certainly a little bit tenuous at the end against Dayton,” Temple head coach Fran Dunphy tells KYW Newsradio. “Actually we had a little bit more of a lead than it looks like we had against Charlotte (89-88 win on February 6th), we gave up a three at the buzzer to make it a one point game. We don’t want to be in those kinds of games, but the competition in this league is so phenomenal that you’re going to have many, many times, very, very close games and you need to learn to play with that much pressure on you.”
Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Fran Dunphy:
The Dayton win represented another big game for senior guard Khalif Wyatt. He poured in twenty points on 7-14 shooting to raise his team leading scoring average to 18.9 points a game.
“He’s a very talented offensive guy,” Dunphy says. “He really knows how to play, he’s got a great IQ. Has great guts about him (in) late-game situations. Sort of a fearless guy, so you want the ball in his hands as much as you possible can. He’s our leading scorer, but certainly our best playmaker as well.”
Wyatt also has a team-high 90 assists this season.
Duquesne is just 7-16 on the season and they have yet to taste victory in the Atlantic 10 as they have lost all nine conference match-ups. But Dunphy says you shouldn’t focus on that record.
“I see a team that is young and getting better each and every game,” Dunphy says. “They’re about ready to break through and it’s going to be up to us to really pay attention to that detail on Thursday. They have good young talent, I think (head coach) Jim Ferry does a wonderful job of coaching.”
At the top of the list of that young talent is freshman guard Derrick Colter, who averages 12.7 points and five assists a game to lead the Dukes in both categories.
Temple and Duquesne will tip-off at 7:00pm on Valentine’s Night.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.