Temple coach John Chaney got within one victory of his first Final Four with a "technical knockout" over Purdue.
The Owls broke the game open after Purdue picked up two early technical fouls and went on to beat the Boilermakers 77-55 Friday night in an East Regional semifinal.
"It kind of gave us our momentum," said Mark Karcher, who led the Owls with 21 points, including eight in the game-breaking 30-7 run fueled by the technicals. "Every time we got the ball back then, we executed our offense. It got us in the flow of the game and everybody just ran the script."
To get to the national semifinals in St. Petersburg, Fla. Chaney and his sixth-seeded Owls (24-10) must find a way to beat top-ranked Duke, which beat Southwest Missouri State 78-61 earlier in the night.
"Duke is the best team in the NCAAs," said Temple point guard Pepe Sanchez, who led the Owls with 17 points, nine assists and six steals. "We've prepared the whole year because we want to win the championship and Duke was going to be in our way. One day we were going to play them and it's going to be Sunday. What can we do, we just can't let them win."
Temple took control after 10th-seeded Purdue picked up two technicals during a 19-second span early in the first half. The Owls then scored eight straight points to start the big run.
On the first technical, referee Donald McAllister whistled Purdue guard Jaraan Cornell for a retaliatory shove. The second was called on Boilermakers coach Gene Keady for arguing with the officials.
"Jaraan is such a mild-mannered guy, that was a reaction that was caught, not an action," Keady said. "I thought it was unfair. I wanted to stick up for my player. I felt we came out very unemotional and I guess I just overreacted to it."
Kevin Lyde startd the run with a rebound follow with 13:21 to play. As the freshman center walked to the line for a foul shot, teammate Quincy Wadley pushed him playfully in the back, also grazing Cornell. Wadley then shoved Cornell again and Cornell shoved back and got a technical.
"The outside official made a mistake and called the technical," Cornell said. "There was nothing I could do about it. I thought a warning to both of us would have been a better way."
Lyde, who scored all 14 of his points in the first half, made his free throw and Sanchez made the two shots from the technical for a 12-11 lead.
Rasheed Brokenborough was fouled on the ensuing play as Temple kept possession, and he made the first free throw. As he was about the take the second, Keady screamed a derogatory remark to the officials three straight times.
Rusty Herring blew the whistle after the third one, and Sanchez added two more free throws for a 15-11 lead. Karcher then hit a shot in the lane and Brokenborough sank a 3-pointer for a 20-11 lead.
With Temple leading 24-18, Karcher hit two straight 3-pointers, Lyde converted a three-point play and an inside basket, and Sanchez scored for a 37-18 lead.
"It definitely was the turning point," said Purdue forward Brian Cardinal, who was limited to five points after scoring 20 in Purdue's win over second-seeded Miami on Sunday. "But we had many opportunities to get back and we just weren't able to rebound and make shots when they were going on their run."
Temple led 47-32 at halftime and won going away. The Owls shot 55 percent in the first half and 53 percent overall.
Cornell scored 14 points for Purdue, which made 13 3-pointers. No other Boilermaker finished in double figures.
| Purdue coach Gene Keady's frustration boils over against Temple. (AP)|
The highlight of the final 12 minutes was Temple fans screaming "We want Duke" and the Blue Devils' band yelling back: "We want you."
"They don't know what they are talking about," said Chaney, who has led Temple to 15 NCAA tournaments in 17 years with the Owls. "I don't want to see that team. I was hoping the other team would kick their butts."
©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed