Temple does more than play zone defense. The Owls know how to beat it too.
Quincy Wadley scored 21 points and the eighth-ranked Owls overcame a sluggish first half to beat Massachusetts 72-54 on Saturday for their 13th straight win.
"We couldn't get into a rhythm," Temple coach John Chaney said. "They were showing zone, showing man. The kids were so busying fighting the defense they couldn't recognize the changes on the floor. It's very difficult for the kids to read when the defenses change."
Temple broke down UMass' defense by hitting their perimeter shots. Quincy Wadley scored 21 points, including three 3-pointers and Lynn Greer added 17, including two 3's.
"We hit a couple 3's and they couldn't stay in the zone. They had to come out and get us," Chaney said.
Wadley missed five straight 3-pointers after hitting his first two and finished 4-for-10. But he hit all 10 of his foul shots.
"We came out lackadaisical," Wadley said. "We weren't executing and we let them dictate the way the game was played. That affected us on both ends of the court."
Greer electrified the crowd with a reverse lay-up and 3-pointer that gave Temple a 35-30 lead less than five minutes into the second half. A 3-pointer by Pepe Sanchez capped a 14-3 run as the Owls took a 38-30 lead with 15:12 remaining in the game.
Temple put the game away with runs of 16-4 and 13-1.
In the first half, Greer kept the Owls close. He came off the bench to score Temple's last seven points, including a 3-pointer and an acrobatic, windmill lay-up. He finished 6-for-11.
"The shots he made were very tough, but he's capable of making tough shots," Chaney said.
UMas (15-12, 9-5) shut down the Owls' inside game early, holding Lamont Barnes and Kevin Lyde to two combined points in the first half. But the duo scored 12 in the second half and grabbed 16 rebounds as Temple won the battle on the boards, 41-38.
"They're as good as anybody in the country," UMass coach Bruiser Flint said. "We played zone because we thought we had a better chance of rebounding against them. They came out and hit a couple 3's. The second half, they came up with big rebounds and scored."
The Minutemen fell apart on offense in the second half, committing six turnovers, including four in the early minutes. After shooting 10-for-27 in the first half (37 percent), UMass hit 4-of-20 shots to open the second half.
"It started from our defense forcing turnovers," Wadley said. "That enabled us to get some transition buckets and let us get in the flow. We're not going to try on outshooting anybody. We have to win game son defense."
Mark Karcher, the Owls' leading scorer, missed his first six shots and finished 1-for-10 for three points.
Temple shot just 8-for-26 (31 percent) in the first half as the starting five went 3-for-23.
Monty Mack led UMass with 20 points on 7-for-17 shooting. Chris Kirkland and Shannon Crooks each added 10 for the Minutemen.
Flint was whistled for his first technical foul of the season with 11:09 left to play after arguing several calls throughout the game. Wadley sank both free throws to give Temple its biggest lead to that point, 46-34.
Sanchez, playing the final home game of his career, had eight assists, including a sidearm, rifle pass from the top of the key to Barnes for a lay-up that cut the score to 29-28.
"I got emotional," Sanchez, an Argentinean native, said about crying during a pre-game ceremony for the seniors. "For players in the U.S., it's normal. For me, this was a dream come true. The whole experience was something I'll never forget."
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