Saturday, March 23, 2002

NIT: Temple downs 'Nova 63-57

The Associated Press

        PHILADELPHIA — Temple didn't need Lynn Greer to win.

        David Hawkins scored all 16 of his points in the second half as Temple beat Villanova 63-57 on Friday night to advance to the NIT semifinals in New York.

        “I don't have answers to how we won that ballgame. I really don't,” Temple coach John Chaney said. “If you told me we would have won without Lynn, I wouldn't have believed you.”

        Greer, Temple's leading scorer and senior leader, didn't play after spraining an ankle Tuesday. He wasn't in uniform Friday and wore a walking cast on his right foot.

        Hawkins was 5-of-9 from the floor in the second half.

        “In the first half, I was not nearly as aggressive as I should have been,” Hawkins said. “I probably didn't take shots that I had. In the second half, I settled down a little bit. Coach said to attack more and that's what I tried to do.”

        Alex Wesby and Kevin Lyde each added 12 for Temple (18-14), which plays Tuesday at Madison Square Garden against the winner of Saturday's quarterfinal between Tennessee Tech and Memphis. Syracuse and South Carolina will meet in the other semifinal.

        Reggie Bryant scored 19 points for Villanova (19-13), which shot 39 percent from the floor. Ricky Wright added 12, and Gary Buchanan had 11 on just 3-for-12 shooting.

        “We're in this tournament to win, not just be in it,” Hawkins said.

        “It's very important to us, especially for the guys who will be back next year.”

        Bryant made a 3-pointer to get Villanova within two points with 1:56 left. But Lyde blocked Derrick Snowden's drive with 20 seconds left, and Hawkins sank two free throws to give Temple a 61-57 lead.

        Brian Polk jumped into a passing lane to make a steal with 10 seconds to go, sealing the outcome.

        “Sometimes you do a lot, but it's much too late. And that's what we're seeing in the NIT,” Chaney said. “I'm proud of them, not just because we won, but because of how we played.”

        Temple, known for its stifling matchup zone defense, spent much of the game playing man-to-man and forced Villanova into 14 turnovers. Temple had only three turnovers.

        “It (Temple's man-to-man defense) was a little bit of a surprise,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “But I've been saying this all year. That's the best way to play us. We're not a good ball-handling team.”

        Wright said Chaney did a good job getting a lot out of players who usually sit on the bench.

        “The guys that were playing tonight don't take minimal shots because they aren't good players. It's because of the system they play in,” Wright said. “So with Greer out, they're going to take a lot more shots.”


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