NEW YORK CITY–Let the record show, in the 30th game of a 31-game regular season schedule, the Temple men's basketball team finally demonstrated that Coach Fran Dunphy was correct when he speculated in the preseason that this is the deepest team he's assembled on North Broad Street.
Freshman forward Daniel Dingle scored three baskets during an 8-0 Temple run midway through the first half, giving the Owls a lead they would never relinquish in a 74-55 runaway victory at Fordham on Wednesday night.
Khalif Wyatt led the Owls with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Scootie Randall added 14 points and Anthony Lee returned after missing one game with a hip injury and posted 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Temple improved to 22-8, 10-5 in Atlantic 10 play, further solidifying a solid NCAA Tournament resume.
But the story of the night was Dingle, the Bronx native who figured to get some minutes in his return home. The surprise, though, was how quickly he got into the game, thanks to a pair of early fouls on Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson.
Less than eight minutes in, Dingle was on the floor and the Owls were facing a six-point deficit. In less than three minutes, Dingle had six points and the Owls had the lead. He totaled 10 minutes in the first half, as Temple pushed to a 28-17 halftime advantage.
"If it wasn't for [Dingle] in the first half, we probably wouldn't have been in as good shape as we were," Wyatt said afterward.
Dingle wound up playing 17 minutes, nearly matching the 21 total minutes that he had played through the first 29 games of the season.
"He's been such a tremendous teammate," Dunphy said. "And he's played well. I just haven't had the chance to give him the minutes that he deserves."
Fordham was down one starter in its home finale, and the Owls kept a close eye on leading scorer Branden Frazier (12 points). The Rams converted just 25 percent of their field goal attempts in the first half. Temple got hot in the second half and extended its lead to 25 points before cruising to the finish.
Jake O'Brien scored 10 points off the bench for the Owls.
Depth was supposed to be a hallmark of the 2012-13 Temple squad. But as the months went by, Dunphy's rotation shrunk from nine to eight, and when injuries hit Lee, and previously T.J. Dileo, to seven and sometimes five or six, with spot minutes for a couple guys off the bench.
But against Fordham, Dingle proved the same thing that Quenton DeCosey proved against Syracuse in December, and Dalton Pepper proved in several games throughout February.
If and when the Owls need some help off the bench, they've got some guys who can do the job.
"We've definitely got confidence in those guys off the bench," Wyatt said. "We're a pretty deep team."
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