Temple Gets By UMass
March 10, 2000
By ROB MAADDI
PHILADELPHIA - After watching three higher-ranked teams lose in the last two days, No. 6 Temple has its sights set on a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The Owls took another step toward possibly getting that berth by beating Massachusetts 54-47 on Friday night in the Atlantic 10 semifinals.
"We want that No. 1 seed," said Mark Karcher, who scored 14 points and had five assists against UMass. "We don't know how that works, but we want to keep winning, get momentum and hopefully get that top seed."
Temple (22-5), seeking its first A-10 tournament title since 1990, will play the St. Bonaventure-Dayton winner Saturday. The Owls might be in position to get the No. 1 seed because No. 1 Cincinnati, No. 2 Stanford and No. 4 Ohio State lost in the last two days.
"It means a lot us to get the No. 1 seed," said Quincy Wadley, who scored 12 points. "It may not make much of a difference, but it's supposed to mean you get an easier road to the championship and that's what we work hard for all year."
Kevin Lyde led Temple with 15 points on 6-for-6 shooting, and Karcher made some brilliant passes and steals to stave off UMass (17-15).
Karcher came up with two steals a few possessions apart as UMass stayed within four points. He then made three clutch passes setting up easy baskets for Temple, which used a 9-2 run to break open a two-point game and take a 46-37 lead with 4:27 left to play.
Karcher found Lamont Barnes inside for a layup and a 41-35 lead with 7:34 remaining. After a basket by Kitwana Rhymer, Karcher passed to Lyde for a dunk to give Temple a 43-37 lead.
A UMass turnover led to another basket for the Owls as Karcher again found Barnes inside for a layup to give Temple its biggest lead to that point, 45-37 with 4:53 left.
UMass did not get closer than six points the rest of the game.
"If my scoring falls off, I want to stay on the floor with my defense," Karcher said.
"I'm really pleased with his hustle and what he brings to the floor," Temple coach John Chaney said. "But I'd like to see him get to the line more. He's got to pump-fake the ball more and we're always telling him that. He's so used to overpowering guys and shooting that he gets his shot blocked too much."
Karcher shot 4-of-12, including 3-of-8 from 3-point range and was 3-for-6 at the foul line.
UMass played patiently against Temple's zone, and stayed close throughout the game. But the Minutemen could not get a key basket despite several chances to tie or take the lead in the second half.
"We played our best basketball of the season," UMass coach Bruiser Flint said. "We did some good things here and I hope we continue. I think we should be in the NIT."
Pepe Sanchez, Temple's floor leader, scored just one point, had three assists and three turnovers. He had four steals.
Sanchez did not score until hitting a free throw with 1:53 remaining to give Temple its biggest lead of the game, 49-39.
"It was a horrible game to watch, but we won," Sanchez said. "You have to win some horrible games if you want to win a championship."
Temple shot 18-of-40 (45 percent) while UMass was 16-of-41 (39 percent). The teams combined to shoot 7-for-26 from 3-point range and committed 23 turnovers. Temple won the battle on the boards, 27-24.
Temple, which has won 16 of its last 17 games, played UMass five times in the A-10 final, with UMass winning the last four.
GET YOUR OFFICIAL