Khalif Wyatt: I’m not yet a believer……but close.
Okay, the Billikens’ magic wasn’t going to last all season but they could have beaten the Hawks if another Khalif Wyatt showed up. The Khalif Wyatt who often-times has more errant 3-point attempts than dribbles. The Khalif Wyatt who looks more comfortable putting up 3-ball attempts instead of taking the ball to the hoop just for the pure fact that three is more than two.
Thankfully (at least for Temple anyway) that Khalif Barnes didn’t show up. He was replaced by a high-percentage, well-rounded and mature scorer who sank 7 of 10 shots at the free-throw line and hit 3 of 4 shots from beyond the arc.
Wyatt was also backed by 20 points from Anthony Lee.
Coming into the game, Temple had a noticeable height advantage. Saint Louis has a few big guys, too, but the Owls made use of their big post players a lot more.
That didn’t matter after the opening buzzer sounded.
As a matter of fact, the Billikens outrebounded Temple 36-31.
Mike McCall Jr. (six points) usually runs the Saint Louis offense but the Owls keyed in on his 12 points per-game, forcing the Billikens to go inside to 6-foot-11 Rob Loe.
The New Zealand native finished with a team-leading 17 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. He baffled Temple with his range, hitting three 3-pointers.
Unfortunately, outside of Dwayne Evans‘ 9 points, 13 rebounds, not much else rose above the realm of average for Saint Louis, especially on defense.
Lauded as one of the nation’s best defenses, the Billikens couldn’t hold Temple below 50-percent shooting.
Lee was 4 0f 8 at the free-throw line and also pulled down 10 boards. Three different Owls had a pair of blocks as well.
Combo guard Scootie Randall had eight rebounds but for the most part, Temple finally had players play within themselves. When the Owls play this way, they become an instant threat in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Mike Gillmeister can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter: @mgillmei