The Temple Owls (24-7) started off the day for the A10 tournament quarterfinals, probably thinking past their game against the University of Massachusetts Minutemen.
The Owls came out of the gate relatively well, but they could not shake the feisty Minutemen led by Chaz Williams. They went into half leading 36-31, and looking good to finally seperate themselves and win the game.
This was not the case, the Minutemen jumped out to an early 15-0 run in the second half and took a lead that they kept for most of the second half. The game was not over, though, for the Owls came back and took the lead several times, the latest being with 4:58 to play. Then threes by Jesse Morgan and Javorn Farrell helped UMass retake a 4-point lead, and the never looked back in a 77-71 win.
The Owls were led by Khalif Wyatt who came off the bench to score 15 points, and he kept the Owls in the game till the end even though he came off the bench due to missing a team event.
Senior Juan Fernandez scored 12 and added 6 assists, and Ramone Moore scored 14 as well to round out the guard trifecta. Forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson added to an already impressive season with 13 points and 6 rebounds.
For the Minutemen, Williams scored 20 and Morgan added 21 of his own. Williams added 10 assists as the main facilitator, and Sean Carter led Massachusetts with 8 rebounds.
The Owls Atlantic 10 season is done, but they are poised to make a run in the NCAA tournament as perhaps a 6-8 seed. I will be watching intently on Sunday to see how high a seed Temple will be given after ending the season with a couple of disappointing losses.