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Juan Fernandez's numbers didn't jump off the page after Temple's 76-70 win over La Salle Wednesday, but in some ways his subtle statistics were a positive sign. The Owls' senior point guard had struggled from the field recently, going just 2-for-19 in his last two games. Against the Explorers, Fernandez scored 12 points, handed out five assists and blocked a shot.

Juan Fernandez's numbers didn't jump off the page after Temple's 76-70 win over La Salle Wednesday, but in some ways his subtle statistics were a positive sign.

The Owls' senior point guard had struggled from the field recently, going just 2-for-19 in his last two games, including 1-for-11 in a loss to Richmond. Overall, he came into the game shooting just 36 percent from the field.

Against the Explorers, Fernandez hit his first two shots of the game and while he connected on just one more, it came at a critical point in the second half. He finished the game 3-for-7 from the field and also 5-for-6 from the line, driving late in the second half and drawing fouls — including a key spot where he initiated contact with La Salle big man Devon White.

Overall, Fernandez scored 12 points, handed out five assists and blocked a shot.

"I thought we were a little stagnant at times, they were overplaying," said Fernandez. "That's why the game came down to a lot of 1-on-1 plays. I think one of the fouls was cutting to the basket and the other I just drew the foul. It's part of my game I'm trying to improve, not only shooting jump shots but try to get to the basket. Luckily today, I got the calls."

Even as he's struggled, Fernandez has been a rock at the end of games. He scored just four points and turned it over seven times against Duke, but totaled six assists and helped the Owls get to the finish line for a huge upset.

He also made a big pass to Aaron Brown for a three-point play with Temple holding a one-point lead late at Saint Louis, setting up another upset win.

"He had not played his best basketball over the last few weeks and no one knows it more than Juan Fernandez," said Temple coach Fran Dunphy after the La Salle game. "But he's our guy and you want the ball in his hands at critical times. I thought he played well today. We need him to continue to get back to the real Juan Fernandez."

Fernandez said he has relied on the support of teammates the last few games and knows the player he has been and will continue to be.

"I was the same player I was the last five games I was today, that's the way I feel," said Fernandez. "My teammates trust in me and that's huge for me. I try to stay closer to them when I'm not having good games. They helped me through all this. It's actually their credit. They were next to me after the Richmond game and that's very important."

Fernandez went through several ups-and-downs with injuries and inconsistency as a junior, but scored one of the biggest baskets in Temple's recent history when he beat Penn State with a last-second shot in the NCAA Tournament.

Still, Fernandez's focus is just on the next game when his recent struggles can be put in the past for good.

"I think you can't really look at the past," said Fernandez. "If you look at the past, it's only to learn, but that's behind already. There's no regrets. You just have to move forward."

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