ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Some final thoughts as top seed Temple beat St. Bonaventure 69-51 to open up quarterfinal play in the A-10 tourney here at Boardwalk Hall. Up next for the Owls is a semifinal matchup on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET against the winner of the No. 4 Saint Louis-No. 5 Rhode Island game.
Temple (27-5) presents matchup problems on the defensive end. And the Owls are perfectly happy to take what you give them. They can play walk it up and play halfcourt. They can transition if the opportunity presents itself. Lock down the lane and Juan Fernandez can bury 3s. Matchup against them on the perimeter and good luck dealing with 6-foot-9 forward Lavoy Allen down on the blocks. That versatility will serve them well the rest of this weekend and once the NCAA tournament starts.
Allen finished with an impressive double-double of 14 points and 15 rebounds -- not to mention 4 assists. And Fernandez was not far behind with 17 points and 8 assists. The Bonnies were led by sophomore forward Andrew Nicholson with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks.
No matter how well things are going, you can count on Temple coach Fran Dunphy to be scowling on the sideline. Sometimes he stands with his arms crossed and sometimes he crouches or is on one knee. And to complement that he mixes in equal amounts of admonishment and encouragement. He’s the personification of old school and his team has bought into his system and executes it well. And the Owls show up to play, which can’t be said about every ranked team. It would have been easy to coast through this game against an overmatched team but Temple kept playing hard on both ends of the floor.
St. Bonaventure finished the season at 15-16. Not a step forward from last year’s 15-15 campaign but third-year coach Mark Schmidt appears to have the Bonnies headed in the right direction. And considering where that program has been in the last decade, at least it wasn’t a step backward.