Temple Basketball: Owls Host Richmond Spiders In Pivotal Atlantic 10 Matchup

Richmond Spiders (20-6, 9-2 Atlantic 10) @ #23/25 Temple Owls (19-5, 9-2)
7:00 PM February 16, 2011
The Liacouras Center Philadelphia, PA

ALL-TIME
Temple leads the series 9-7 and is 3-2 at home against Richmond.

LAST TIME
3/14/2010 - Juan Fernandez led all scorers with a game-high 18 points as the Owls nailed down their third straight Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Championship by a score of 56-52 over the Spiders in Atlantic City. Ramone Moore chipped in 12 points and was perfect from beyond the arc as he connected on back-to-back threes in the first half that broke open what was then a tie game. Lavoy Allen played all 40 minutes but scored just four points. He did grab a game-high 11 rebounds, however. Kevin Anderson led the Spiders with 14 points while Justin Harper chipped in 10 of his own.

HEAD COACHES
Temple

Fran Dunphy
Record at Temple: 103-54 (5th season)
All-Time Record: 413-217 (21st season)

Richmond
Chris Mooney
Record at Richmond: 103-85 (6th season)
All-Time Record: 121-97 (7th season)

TOP PERFORMERS
Temple

PPG: G Ramone Moore - 15.0
RPG: F Lavoy Allen - 7.0
APG: G Juan Fernandez - 4.0

Richmond
PPG: F Justin Harper - 18.0
RPG: F Justin Harper - 6.7
APG: G Kevin Anderson - 3.6

PROBABLE STARTERS
Temple

Lavoy Allen F - 10.7 ppg. 7.0 rpg. 1.6 bpg.
- or -
Rahlir Jefferson F - 5.4 ppg. 5.0 rpg. .598 fg%
Scootie Randall F - 11.6 ppg 5.1 rpg. .502 fg%
Micheal Eric F - 7.1 ppg. 5.8 rpg. 1.5 bpg.
Ramone Moore G - 15.0 ppg. 4.4 rpg. 3.2 apg.
Juan Fernandez G - 9.7 ppg. 3.1 rpg. 4.0 apg.

Richmond
Kevin Anderson G - 15.8 ppg. 3.6 apg. 35.4 mpg.
Darien Brothers G - 8.6 ppg. 1.9 rpg. 24.2 mpg.
Kevin Smith F - 4.2 ppg. 3.4 rpg. 25.9 mpg.
Justin Harper F - 18.0 ppg. 6.7 rpg. 30.3 mpg.
Dan Geriot C - 10.2 ppg. 3.7 rpg. 24.2 mpg.

LAST OUTING
Temple (75-63 victory at Dayton)
From the Associated Press:

Both teams started cold. Temple missed its first seven shots while Dayton went 3 of 12, keeping it close. Temple went ahead to stay with an 11-2 run led by Moore, who hit a 3, a baseline jumper and a jumper off an inbound pass that put the Owls up 18-12. Moore had 11 points in the first half.

The Owls closed the half with an 8-2 spurt that featured two baskets by Randall and left the Owls ahead 31-21. Dayton shot only 26 percent in the half, going 7 of 27 from the field with nine turnovers

Temple kept the defensive pressure on at the start of the second half, preventing Dayton from making a run to get back into the game. Randall hit a 15-foot jumper, Moore made two free throws and Rahlir Jefferson -- starting for Allen -- made a driving layup that pushed the lead to 59-42 with 6:57 left.

Richmond (64-52 victory against St. Louis)
From the Associated Press:

Justin Harper scored 22 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked four shots to lead Richmond to a 64-52 win over Saint Louis on Saturday.

The Spiders (20-6, 9-2 Atlantic 10) have won four straight and seven of their last eight games. The win also gave Richmond its third consecutive season with at least 20 wins.

Dan Geriot finished with 12 points, and Kevin Smith had 10 points and five steals for the Spiders.
Richmond rarely trailed in the contest, as Harper led them with his second half scoring. He scored 10 straight points that included two 3-pointers, giving the Spiders a 51-38 lead with 9:04 left.

THE MATCHUP
Tonight's game is one that has been circled one many a Temple fan's calendars for months now. Not only was it a shoo-in to be a competitive game with postseason ramifications but it was also the only good conference home game on the slate this year. Since it is the one 'good' game left it should not be a stretch to expect anywhere from 5,000-8,000 people to show up.

I touched on Richmond's Justin Harper yesterday in this post but let's take another look at him. Those familiar with this site know that I refer to Ken Pomeroy's website quite often so let's see what that stat guru has to say about Richmond's dangerous forward: Kenpom ranks Harper in the top five nationally in both effective field goal percentage ( (FGM + 0.5*3PM)/FGA ) and true shooting percentage (like eFG%, but throws in trips to the line and converts it to a shooting percentage that approximates what 2-point percentage a player would need to have to score the points he produces on all of his shooting attempts).

His 67.0 eFG% and 68.8 TS% are exceptionally good yet no one really talks about him. Food for thought: most people consider BYU's Jimmer Fredette to be the country's premier shooter/scorer yet he does not rank in the top 100 of either category. Even if he doesn't start the game (and all indications are that he won't as Lavoy Allen seems to be poised to return tonight), expect Rahlir Jefferson to be tasked with defending Harper. While there is a differential in size, Jefferson's exceptionally long wingspan combined with his tenacity on the defensive end should allow him to at least compete with Harper.

All this talk about Harper might make you forget the fact that Richmond also boasts the reigning Atlantic 10 Player of the Year in Kevin Anderson. Despite the fact that he has regressed somewhat from last year's form he is still an exceptional guard that has the ability to cause major problems for Temple's perimeter players. His total points are down but he is shooting the three-ball better than he ever has as Anderson has already connected on a career-high 51 shots from distance.

The key to defeating Richmond is exploiting rebounding issues. They are second to last in the A10 with just over 30 rebounds per game and dead last in offensive rebounding with 8.5 a game. As a team, Temple is middle of the road when it comes offensive rebounding but when going through the matchups for this game on a player by player basis, the Owls should be able to get their crack at a fair share of their own misses. If they can extend their own possessions and keep Richmond contained to one-and-dones on their end then Temple has an excellent shot at remaining unbeaten at home this season.

PREDICTION
This is going to be a tough game between two teams that are very similar. They are one and two in scoring defense, second and third in scoring margin and first and fourth in field goal percentage in the A10. That said, I think that Temple will once again protect their house. Vegas says that Temple is a 6.5 point favorite. I say they win by either four or five points. Temple 63, Richmond 59

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