Temple knocks off GW, advances in NIT

Much as the Temple men’s basketball team enjoys playing at home in the Liacouras Center, it would much rather be playing in a neutral arena in the NCAA Tournament than hosting games in the NIT. But as long as the Owls are playing games, they might as well win them and for the second time this week, they did just that after being snubbed for an NCAA bid one week ago.

Much as the Temple men’s basketball team enjoys playing at home in the Liacouras Center, it would much rather be playing in a neutral arena in the NCAA Tournament than hosting games in the NIT.

But as long as the Owls are playing games, they might as well win them and for the second time this week, they did just that after being snubbed for an NCAA bid one week ago.

Temple rolled over former Atlantic 10 rival George Washington, 90-77, in a second-round NIT game on Sunday afternoon which was a program record 15th win this season in the Liacouras Center. The Owls opened the tournament with a victory Wednesday over Bucknell.

“I think I’m just still mad, I’m trying to keep playing basketball,” said senior point guard Will Cummings. “Anything I can do to keep playing basketball, that’s what I want to keep doing.”

The top-seeded Owls will face No. 2 Texas A&M or No. 3 Louisiana Tech on Wednesday with the winner advancing to next week’s semifinals in New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Temple jumped out to a 9-0 lead over the Colonials in the 11 a.m. start and withstood a late GW charge to take a 38-30 lead into the break.

“We were just ready to protect home court and make a statement tonight and that’s what we did,” said Jesse Morgan, who scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half.

GW got it as close as four early in the second half, but reserve guard Devin Coleman took over down the stretch – scoring all 13 of his points after intermission. Temple shot 60 percent in the second half and 50 percent for the game.

“They started to pressure and it opened up floor space,” said Coleman, who played 16 minutes. “There were a lot of spots to get shots, and I knocked some down when I got the chance. When you see your first shot go down, that always helps.”

Kethan Savage scored a career-high 25 points off the bench for the Colonials, who finish their season at 22-13.

“We went to Pitt (in the first round) and got off to a good start, and on the road you don’t want to get off to a bad start,” said GW coach Mike Lonergan. “We wanted to go under screens and take away penetration, but we talked we had to pressure the ball and we played 10 feet off and let them line up open shots. … We got down way too much.”

Jaylen Bond grabbed 11 first-half rebounds, five offensive, and finished with 15 boards as the Owls beat the Colonials on the glass, 38-26. Cummings led the way with 21 points.

"We love playing and hopefully we'll continue to do so," said Temple coach Fran Dunphy.

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