Chaney Irked By Team's Play At Auburn

Auburn, Ala.--John Chaney, one of the coaching icons of Eastern collegiate basketball, suffered the indignity of watching his Temple Owls get pounded by a youthful Auburn team in his first ever visit to Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

Chaney says Auburn's defense was a big reason his Owls were whipped 73-42, which ties for the second worst loss in margin of defeat in his Temple career.

You have to give credit to Auburn," he says. "They blitzed us into the point where we couldn't make good passes against 1-3-1 pressure. We fell into a bad situation of trying to respond by shooting home runs and that doesn't work."

The Tigers jumped on the Owls early and didn't let up. By halftime Auburn enjoyed a 45-23 lead by holding the visitors to 34.5 percent shooting in the first half.

Looking for three-point shots to quickly chip into the lead in the second half, the opposite happened. Temple's offense struggled even more, making just 17.9 percent of its second half shots, including 4-17 treys.

"It's a very difficult thing to motivate young people from the way in which we used to do it," said Chaney, who is in his 25th season as head coach of the Philadelphia school and 34th overall season as a head coach.

"When they score baskets then you're looking at a team that plays well," Chaney says of his Owls. "That's unfortunate. Our key players just couldn't put it in the basket...5-15 from the foul line. That's not a characteristic of a good team."

The victory was special for Auburn's only senior, Ronny LeMelle, a Harrisburg, Pa., native who knows a lot about Temple basketball.

"I have watched him since I was growing up," LeMelle says. "I had a friend of mine that I looked up to who played at Temple--my neighborhood role model I guess--played for him.

"When I was in prep school we stayed right down the street from Temple so we used to go to a lot of Temple games," LeMelle remembers. "We would get to sit in on their practices. I'm real familiar with him. It's funny when you look over on the sideline and it's like, ‘That's a legend sitting right over there.' To win the game made it that much sweeter."

LeMelle missed last year's Auburn game vs. Temple in Philadelphia because of a knee problem that forced him to redshirt. This time he was ready to play and scored 12 points as he hit four of six three-pointers for the Tigers, who made 11-24 treys as a team.

"I looked over and saw the shirt and the tie hanging down," says LeMelle, who notes that he received some recruiting letters from Chaney and Temple, but no scholarship offer. "The shirt came unsnapped like I'm used to seeing. I heard him over there yelling."

Auburn coach Jeff Lebo, who also grew up in Pennsylvania following Chaney and Temple basketball, is now 2-0 vs. the Philly school.

"He's got me in the totals," joked Lebo, pointing out that the veteran coach has 729 career victories to 134 for Lebo. "He's a great coach and I've got a lot of respect for Coach Chaney. I think the world of him and what he believes in. Being 2-0 doesn't really cross my mind. I just have a lot of respect for him and their program."

Lebo and the 5-2 Tigers will be back in action on Thursday at Texas A&M.

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