here were all sorts of ways for Temple to dissect yesterday's dripped-with-drama 65-64 overtime loss to Massachusetts.
Kevin Lyde snatches a rebound over Winston Smith and Jackie Rogers.
Whatever lens you look through, Temple is 11-10 and has lost three of its last four games, including its last two Atlantic Ten home games.
The most popular parlor game on North Broad Street - what do the Owls need to do to get to the NCAA tournament? - will have to be suspended awhile. Barring a month-long winning streak, the most likely way for Temple to make it to March Madness is for the Owls to capture the A-10 tournament. And they will not be the favorites. Yesterday's loss plummeted the Owls to fourth place in the A-10, where they are now 5-2.
Not one of Temple's starters has underachieved this season, and Chaney's system is time-tested. The Owls have gone to the tournament 16 of the last 17 seasons. So what's the problem? The main one is that nobody that is seeing any time for Temple could accurately be described as a forward, and certainly not a power forward. Temple has centers and guards, but no forwards.
What that meant yesterday was that UMass had 19 second-chance points to just eight for Temple. It also meant the Minutemen could maneuver against Temple's zone without so many extra-long arms batting the ball around. In scoring 23 field goals, UMass had 19 assists to just 10 turnovers, and made 8 of 19 three-pointers (42.1 percent).
"We didn't stop [Monty] Mack," Wadley said. "That was our focus. We didn't stop him. He still ended up with 20 points. When your whole team focuses on trying to stop one guy and you still don't do it, that means they got their cake and ate it too. That means you're focusing to stop him and everyone else is getting open, and you're not stopping him. That comes from breakdowns on defense. Not playing good defense. That's what it came down to."
UMass (8-10, 6-1), which lost nine of its first 11 games in nonconference play but is tied for first in the A-10, prevailed after a wild final minute of overtime. With 26 seconds left, UMass center Kitwana Rhymer scored on a flying layup to give the Minutemen a 65-63 lead after Mack had penetrated Temple's defense.
|TotalCast game stats|
Fouled by Greer at midcourt with 10 seconds left, Pugh missed two free throws. Ron Rollerson grabbed the rebound for Temple and threw an outlet pass to David Hawkins, who took off down the right side. Pugh cut off Hawkins, fouling him with 4.4 seconds left.
You make the call: watch the final sequence.
"He got fouled. The worst foul of the whole game, without question. But it takes courage to make that call," Chaney said, later adding, "You tell me if David Hawkins wasn't chopped to the ground physically. Policemen don't beat anybody that bad with a stick."
"I've said all along, officials are not with this game anymore," Chaney said. "The new rules do not make it right anymore."
What Chaney was referring to - and what he has harped on all season - was a directive this season from the rules committee calling for every foul to be called, wherever it happens on the court, whenever it happens in the game. His complaint all along has been that this has made for inconsistent officiating.
Chaney said Temple had lost the game before the end, before Hawkins ever went to the foul line, "before it was left in the hands of three blind men."
Hawkins had missed one of two free throws with 44 seconds left in overtime and Temple down by a point. Wadley had twice missed one of a pair earlier in overtime. Alex Wesby had missed the front end of a one-and-one when Temple was up by a point with 1:22 left in regulation. On that one, Wadley had argued vehemently that he had been the player fouled, not Wesby.
After Wesby scored with 14 seconds left in regulation to tie it and UMass then missed a shot and four tip-ins, the game hinged on that last play in overtime. Was Hawkins hit? Only in the arm, chest and legs. But that was not the only no-call. Two seconds earlier, Rollerson had run over UMass' Shannon Crooks, freeing a lane for Hawkins along the baseline.
HILADELPHIA - Shannon Crooks' jersey went flying at the final buzzer, hurled somewhere off toward the stands as the UMass guard did a slow, bare-chested strut in front of a deflated Temple crowd.
Shannon Crooks doesn't make life easy for Lynn Greer.
The Minutemen's OT win triggered a jubilant postgame pileup in front of Owls coach John Chaney's bench. In the aftermath, Chaney railed against the officiating - including an alleged non-call when UMass center Kitwana Rhymer blocked a desperate David Hawkins drive down the baseline with two seconds left in overtime.
``You tell me if David Hawkins wasn't chopped to the ground on that play,'' Chaney said. ``Police don't beat people to the ground with a stick that bad.''
Crooks didn't care. He was walking proud - perhaps prouder than the junior guard has ever felt while actually wearing a UMass uniform.
``When the horn blew, I really felt that if we put our minds to it, we can beat everybody,'' Crooks said. ``If we can beat Temple, then we can beat everyone in the conference.''
The win was the first by the Minutemen on Temple's home court since Jan. 25, 1997, in Bruiser Flint's first season as head coach. The 1997 win, a 78-66 victory, wasn't so close. This one couldn't have been tighter.
After leading through most of regulation, UMass was forced to retake the lead three times down the second-half stretch. With 2:09 left, Monty Mack tied the game at 53 for the Minutemen off a fast break after Crooks stole the ball and fired a pass while lying on his back at midcourt.
On an afternoon stocked with complaints about the officiating, referee John Moreau mistakenly sent Temple's Alex Wesby to the free throw line in the final minute of regulation instead of Quincy Wadley - the player who had been fouled - and Wesby missed the front end of a one-and-one. Off the miss, Mack drove down the other end, was fouled by Wadley, and hit both free throws for a 55-53 UMass lead with 33 seconds left.
Rhymer, who would record 10 of his 11 rebounds and three blocks after halftime, then blocked Lynn Greer for the apparent game-killer - until Wesby scooped up the ball off the block and laid it in for a 55-55 tie at the end of regulation.
Two factors determined the outcome in overtime: UMass' ability to make an important play when needed; and the Owls' horrid free throw shooting.
Wadley and Hawkins were just 5-for-9 from the line, with neither player able to convert on two in one trip. As a result, Temple managed to tie the score three times, only to have the Minutemen answer with either a hoop or a free throw to retake the lead each time.
Owls center Kevin Lyde fouled out with 1:57 left in OT, further opening the lane for UMass. Mack responded to Lyde's departure with a drive into the key, where he fed Rhymer for a dunk and a 65-63 edge with 26 seconds left off a slick pick-and-roll.
Flint then opened a few eyes by inserting freshman Jameel Pugh, who hadn't played in the previous five games, to guard Wesby for the final 22 seconds.
After Rhymer again blocked a Greer drive, Pugh swung over to steal the ball from Wadley and draw the foul. Pugh missed both free throws, allowing Temple another possession with 10 seconds on the clock, which led to Hawkins drawing a foul by Pugh with four seconds remaining.
Temple's freshman guard hit the first free throw but missed the second, leaving the Owls a point short - but not without hope. The rebound of Hawkins' miss bounced off the left side of the rim before Crooks tipped the ball out toward the corner. Hawkins emerged from a scramble with the ball and drove the baseline, which led to Rhymer's final rejection of the game and Cheney's postgame eruption.
Chaney, who referred to the officiating crew led by Moreau as ``three blind men,'' exploded: ``My kids had courage. There were three people (the refs) who didn't. (Hawkins) got fouled - the worst foul of the whole game - but it takes courage to make that call. The officials are not with this game anymore.''
HILADELPHIA — University of Massachusetts men's basketball coach Bruiser Flint spent yesterday's entire game at Temple screaming about fouls that weren't called.
Both Bruiser and John Chaney had something to scream about at the officials during the course of the game.
"The last foul was the worst of the entire game, and it takes courage to call it,'' Chaney bellowed after UMass had won 65-64 in overtime at the Liacouras Center, a cherished victory that lifted the Minutemen (8-10, 6-1 Atlantic 10) into a tie with St. Joseph's (6-1) for first place in the A-10. Xavier was 5-1 entering its game at Duquesne.
"My kids had courage, but three guys (referees Larry Lembo, John Moreau and David Day) didn't,'' Chaney said.
Flint didn't argue, but after watching UMass go the entire first half without shooting a free throw, he also said UMass shouldn't have been required to win on the final play of its first overtime game this year. He'd been upset with the officials all afternoon, until a non-call on the final play left the smallest of victory margins intact for UMass.
Temple (11-10, 5-2) lost for only the third time in its last 10 games. UMass was leading 65-63 when Temple freshman David Hawkins was fouled by Jameel Pugh with 4.4 seconds left in OT.
Hawkins made the first shot but missed the second, and a mad scramble occurred to the left of the basket. Hawkins retrieved the ball but was blocked by Kitwana Rhymer on the baseline, as time expired and several bodies went crashing to the floor.
Thinking that Hawkins had been mashed, Chaney then mashed the bounds of political correctness and perhaps good taste.
"The game was left in the hands of three blind men,'' the coach said. "David was chopped to the ground. Policemen don't beat a guy that hard with a stick.''
For UMass, its fourth straight win served as a bit of an even-up for its only A-10 loss, a one-pointer at St. Bonaventure that also ended on a non-call. A layup by Rhymer (14 points, 11 rebounds, two blocked shots) with 26 seconds left came off a feed from Monty Mack, and broke a 63-63 tie.
With the exception of a stretch that saw Temple rally from a 45-38 deficit, UMass played superbly against the Owls' zone. The Minutemen committed only 10 turnovers and had season highs in 3-point baskets (8) and assists (19). Winston Smith's six assists tied his career high. The Minutemen missed a chance to win it in regulation when Shannon Crooks missed a 5-foot jumper, and three tips wouldn't fall as time expired with the score 55-55. But Temple missed four of nine free throws in overtime.
When Ronell Blizzard fouled out with 22.6 seconds left and the score 65-63, Flint went with the 6-5 Pugh for perimeter matchup reasons. It was Pugh's first appearance in six games, and the move appeared to pay off when he stripped Quincy Wadley of the ball with 12 seconds left.
But Pugh, who had taken only six free throws all season, missed two with 10.1 seconds left, then fouled Hawkins at the other end, setting up the final sequence.
Mack (20 points) led UMass, while Lynn Greer (16 points) and Kevin Lyde (13 points, 12 rebounds, three blocked shots), Hawkins (13 points) paced Temple. But Lyde fouled out in overtime, a damaging blow for a Temple team that lacks depth and used five players for at least 36 minutes each.
"I wasn't worried about going into overtime, because we can play defense and I didn't think they had enough guys,'' Flint said. "I figured we could go as many overtimes as we needed.''
HILADELPHIA — For all the commotion that followed the non-call on the final play of yesterday's University of Massachusetts-Temple men's basketball game, a couple of other key officiating decisions nearly went forgotten.
But they played a part in UMass' 65-64 overtime victory, extending the Minutemen's winning streak to four games.
With the game tied 53-53 and 1:22 left in regulation, referees Larry Lembo, John Moreau and David Day sent Temple forward Alex Wesby to the line after a rebounding foul. Temple contended that Quincy Wadley, and not Wesby, should have been shooting.
Wesby had been shooting 69 percent from the line to Wadley's 67.9, but Wadley had taken 53 free throws to Wesby's 29 before this game, and was the far more experienced player. The choice seemed even more important when Wesby missed the front end of the one-and-one.
With 33.6 seconds left, Wadley was called for a foul on Monty Mack near the perimeter, and Lembo checked with TV monitors before awarding Mack a two-shot foul, not three. Mack made both free throws, before Wesby tied the game at 55-55 on a layup with 13.7 seconds left in regulation.
In his postgame diatribe against the referees, Temple coach John Chaney said they have sent inconsistent signals by call every contact foul at times, letting contact go in the final seconds and trying to balance the "no harm, no foul" philosophy of years past.
"Kids can't get a feel for the officials, and the officials are lost," Chaney said. "I've said all along that the officials are not with this game anymore."
Wesby was recruited by UMass before choosing Temple. A 6-foot-6 junior who started for most of the season, he is now being used as a sixth man and scored 10 points yesterday.
GOING AT 'EM:
UMass coach Bruiser Flint said the UMass-Temple rivalry never softened, even when the Owls swept three games last year.
"Is it a rivalry again? It always has been and always will be," he said. "They just had a great team last year. But this was as good a game as I've been involved with."
Flint is 4-6 against Temple. Yesterday's win was his first at the new Liacouras Center in four tries, and came before 7,112, 3,000 below capacity.
With Mack guarding, Wadley scored 10 points on 2-for-7 shooting. Wadley averaged 14 points per game against UMass last year, and the Temple senior has been a thorn in the Minutemen's side.
"He's been the person who's been killing us before, so I just took up the challenge," Mack said.
UMass center Kitwana Rhymer was 6 for 6 from the line, and has hit 32 of 38 free throws in his last five games. He also grabbed 10 of his 11 rebounds yesterday in the second half and overtime, and scored the winning basket with 26 seconds left.
Rhymer battled Temple center Kevin Lyde, a former McDonald's high school All-American who had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
"I thought Lyde would try to bully me at first, but instead he was up-faking me," said Rhymer, who likes to make mid-game adjustments based on what he notices in his opponents. "I tried to fight through and get in front of him more in the second half, too."
UMass is 5-6 under Flint in overtime games. In 43 previous games against Temple, the only overtime clash had been the Owls' 83-82, triple-overtime win at Curry Hicks Cage in 1990, when John Calipari coached UMass . . . UMass was 11 for 14 from the line, and 10 for 10 until Mack missed with 1:12 left in overtime.
HILADELPHIA - With a share of first place on the line, the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team won the game, John Chaney lost his cool and the game went down to the wire in front of a national television audience as UMass and Temple brought their rivalry back to its mid-1990s level Saturday.
Micah Brand gets position for the rebound.
With UMass leading 65-64 in overtime, Temple freshman guard David Hawkins' second of two free throws kicked off the left side of the rim with 4.4 seconds left.
The ball skipped off Shannon Crooks' hand to Hawkins on the left baseline. He drove toward the net and put the ball back up, but it was blocked by Kitwana Rhymer. Winston Smith fell on the ball as time ran out and the Minutemen escaped with a 65-64 win, their first ever in the 4-year-old Liacouras Center. Mack raced up the court pumping his fist, while his teammates flooded the court.
Chaney screamed for a foul to no avail.
"It was a hard-fought game by both teams," UMass coach Bruiser Flint said. "It was as good a game as I've been involved with as a coach. We played well and we got the victory."
Chaney ripped the officials after the game.
"He got fouled," said Chaney, who later referred to the referees as the "three blind men."
"It was the worst foul of the whole game. Policemen don't beat anybody that bad with a stick. But it takes courage to make that call."
Flint wasn't thrilled with the men in stripes either.
"He's upset about the officiating?" Flint asked when told of Chaney's comments. "It was a tough call, the first time we got a call all night. I'm not going to get into the refs."
Rhymer's block capped an impressive second half and overtime for the senior center. He was credited with just two blocks, but he appeared to have three down the stretch.
He scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds after intermission to finish with 14 points and 11 boards. He made all six free-throw attempts.
"I'm confident shooting them," Rhymer said. "I don't have a problem shooting them no more. I don't get nervous or listen to the crowd. I just shoot them."
Monty Mack led all scorers with 20. Lynn Greer was Temple's top scorer with 16, while Kevin Lyde had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
The win leaves the Minutemen (8-10, 6-1 Atlantic 10) tied for first place with St. Joseph's and Xavier. Temple fell to 11-10, 5-2.
UMass will carry its season-long four-game winning streak back to New England Tuesday, when it takes on Rhode Island at the Providence Civic Center.
The Minutemen led most of the second half, but never by enough to feel comfortable. Trailing 51-47, Temple scored six straight points to take a 53-51 lead with 3:35 remaining.
Crooks tried to tie the game driving to the basket, but Kevin Lyde swatted the shot away.
However, Crooks intercepted a pass at the other end and led Mack on a break. Alex Wesby got his hand on Mack's lay-up attempt but was called for goaltending, tying the game at 53-53.
The teams traded misses until Mack was fouled by Wadley with 33.6 seconds left. He made both free throws to put the Minutemen ahead, 55-53.
Rhymer blocked Greer's shot, but Wesby recovered and laid it in to tie the game with 13.7 seconds left.
UMass had a chance to win it in regulation. Crooks drove to the basket and had a 5-footer bounce out. The Minutemen tipped the ball back toward the net three times, but it never fell through and time expired.
Wadley gave the Owls the lead in overtime, when he made one of two free throws. Micah Brand drew Lyde's fourth foul and made both ensuing foul shots, giving UMass a 57-56 lead with 3:59 left. Wadley again made one of two from the line to make it 57-57.
Mack missed a 3-pointer, but Crooks came away with the offensive rebound. The Minutemen worked the ball around the perimeter and Winston Smith (six assists, no turnovers) fed Crooks for an open trey that put the Minutemen ahead, 60-57.
After Hawkins scored driving to the basket to bring Temple back within one, UMass threw the ball to Rhymer in the post. His hook shot missed, but the referees whistled Lyde for his fifth foul, finishing his afternoon. Rhymer made both free throws to make it 62-59.
Despite being fouled by Smith, Wadley scored driving the baseline and hit the free throw to tie the game at 62-62 with 1:33 left.
The small contingent of UMass fans behind the Minuteman bench cheered accordingly when Mack was fouled by Hawkins with 1:12 left. But Mack, a 78.8-percent free-throw shooter, missed the first, but made the second, nudging the Minutemen back ahead by one.
Because of Temple's small lineup, Flint was using Blizzard at the power forward spot, because he didn't think Brand could stay with Wesby (6-foot-5), but Blizzard picked up his fifth foul with 44.1 seconds left trying to block Hawkins' shot.
Hawkins tied the game on his first free throw, but missed the chance to put his team ahead when his second free throw clanged out.
Crooks moved the ball up court and got the ball to Mack in the corner. Mack curled toward the net and as the defense moved toward him, it freed Rhymer on the baseline. Mack deftly bounced it to him for the easy lay-up with 26.1 seconds left, giving UMass a 65-63 lead.
Temple quickly pushed the ball up court and called time-out. With Blizzard out of the game, Flint inserted Jameel Pugh to cover Wesby.
"It was either put him in there or a big guy that really couldn't guard him," Flint said. "We had to match up."
The freshman swingman, who hadn't played in five games, was nearly a hero. He stripped Wadley and raced toward the basket.
Greer fouled him, but Pugh missed both free throws and then fouled Hawkins at the other end, setting up the final sequence.
The Minutemen and Owls meet again Feb. 17 at the Mullins Center 1 p.m. on ABC.
Flint was proud of his team after the game.
"I was proud of my team," Flint said. "They never stopped. The whole time on the bench they were like, 'we going to win this one fellas. We going to pull it out'. We got two in Philadelphia. Not many people do that."
HILADELPHIA - It's hard not to wonder what if.
What if the University of Massachusetts had played in December the way it has played in January?
What if the Minutemen had displayed the same poise in close games against Boston College, and Ohio State, Richmond and Marquette, that they did recently against Dayton and Temple?
What if Monty Mack hadn't been in a horrific shooting slump against Holy Cross and Providence, and played the way he did in two games this week in Philadelphia?
What if Kitwana Rhymer had stayed out of foul trouble against Marquette and Oregon and had been able to be an inside presence the way he was against Dayton and Duquesne?
Who knows how good this UMass team might have been. Top 25? On its way to the NCAA Tournament? For the team's fans, the vision is as frustrating as it is tantalizing.
But even with its disastrous 2-9 beginning, the Minutemen have put themselves in a position to make something of this season. Saturday's 65-64 overtime win over Temple on the road Saturday gave UMass a 6-1 Atlantic 10 mark.
Even in the unlikely event that they go undefeated for the rest of the regular season, the Minutemen still would be only 17-10. They'd probably need at least two more wins to be considered for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid.
But while running the table wouldn't be realistic, finishing strong is. With the first half of its regular season nearly over, UMass looks like a team that could make a run in the Atlantic 10 Tournament and potentially grab the automatic NCAA Tournament bid that comes with winning the conference.
In each of the past two seasons, the Minutemen went into the league postseason pledging to win the tournament and make the Big Dance. But everyone, including, probably, themselves, knew they were pipe dreaming.
It's different this year. If the Minutemen play the second half of their conference slate the way they did the first, they'll enter The Spectrum in Philadelphia as one of the favorites.
Even if they can't secure the automatic bid, the Minutemen have positioned themselves to finish over .500, which would make them eligible for the National Invitation Tournament. That seemed impossible last month.
There has been nothing flukish about UMass' success. The Minutemen already have beaten the four teams (other than themselves) that were in the top five of the conference's preseason poll and beat the top two - Xavier and Temple - on the road.
Saturday was a litmus test. The Minutemen's five conference wins to that point were impressive, but it was reasonable to wonder whether playing Temple in a hostile Liacouras Center would bring them back to earth.
Future Owls' opponents could use the first 30 minutes of Saturday's game as an instructional video on where the open shots are in Temple's tricky matchup zone.
More than that, UMass never seemed intimidated by Temple's toughness, an intangible that shakes a lot of Owl foes, especially on Temple's home turf.
The Minutemen were unflappable throughout. When Temple made a mini run, they answered. When the Owls made adjustments defensively, Flint counter-adjusted effectively.
The UMass team that was miserable prior to Auld Lang Syne is gone and the Minutemen have become the good basketball team that they were predicted to be in the preseason.
UMass is playing like a unit that is used to winning, and expects to do so. If the Minutemen's solid play continues in February and March, they might be able to put those "what if's" behind them for good.
MASSACHUSETTS (65) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Smith 39 2-4 0-0 0-6 6 3 4 Brand 31 2-9 2-2 1-7 3 2 6 Rhymer 29 4-12 6-6 6-11 1 3 14 Mack 45 7-15 3-4 0-0 2 1 20 Crooks 32 3-7 0-0 2-4 3 4 7 Rogers 6 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 Blizzard 23 2-4 0-0 0-2 2 5 6 Williams 3 1-1 0-0 1-1 0 1 2 Depina 16 2-5 0-0 0-1 2 1 6 Pugh 1 0-0 0-2 0-0 0 1 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 225 23-58 11-14 10-32 19 22 65 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.397, FT-.786. 3-Point Goals: 8-19, .421 (Mack 3-9, Crooks 1-3, Blizzard 2-3, Depina 2-4). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 3 (Rhymer 2, Brand). Turnovers: 10 (Crooks 3, Depina 3, Blizzard 2, Rhymer 2). Steals: 3 (Crooks, Mack, Pugh). TEMPLE (64) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Rollerson 19 1-1 0-0 1-3 0 2 2 Hawkins 45 5-8 3-8 2-4 0 4 13 Lyde 37 4-9 5-6 2-12 0 5 13 Greer 45 4-13 7-8 0-1 6 1 16 Wadley 37 2-7 5-7 1-4 3 3 10 Wesby 36 4-9 0-1 1-3 1 1 10 Jefferson 6 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 225 20-47 20-30 7-27 10 16 64 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.426, FT-.667. 3-Point Goals: 4-15, .267 (Greer 1-4, Wadley 1-5, Wesby 2-6). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 6 (Lyde 3, Rollerson 2, Jefferson). Turnovers: 9 (Wadley 3, Greer 2, Hawkins 2, Lyde, Rollerson). Steals: 7 (Wadley 3, Rollerson 2, Lyde, Wesby). _______________________________________ Massachusetts 33 22 10 - 65 Temple 30 25 9 - 64 _______________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 7,112. Officials: Larry Lembo, John Moreau, David Day.