Temple Basketball Welcomes Fordham To The Liacouras Center

Fundamentally, not much has changed since I last previewed Fordham. Chris Gaston is a very good player is averaging a double-double for the season (15.2 points per game and 11.1 rebounds per game). Brenton Butler is 10th on Fordham's all-time scoring list with 1,416 points. Guards Branden Frazier and Alberto Eastwick both average double figures with 11.9 and 10.4 points respectively. As I have said before, the talent is certainly there, it is more of a matter of changing the culture of the program.

That task has proven to be easier said than done.

First year head coach Tom Pecora turned some heads earlier this season after the Rams were able to knock off St. John's at the Rose Hill Gym. At one point this year the Rams were 6-4 and looking like they had finally turned the corner. The run of success proved to be fool's gold as Fordham has dropped 11 straight games, nine of which to conference foes. The Rams own the longest active conference losing streak with 35 straight league setbacks. The last time Fordham beat an Atlantic 10 foe was Jan. 28, 2009 when they squeaked by Saint Bonaventure, 67-65.

Heading into their earlier game, the Rams at least had their rebounding ability to hang their hat on. Fordham owned a +6.6 rebounding margin that was good enough for second in the A10 and 35th nationally. Those numbers have dipped substantially since the conference season has started as they now outrebound opponents by just 1.2 boards per game. Two other important statistics are Fordham's scoring (63.2 points per game) and scoring defense (71.7 points per game).

Still, Fran Dunphy isn't taking this game lightly (not that he takes any game lightly, though). He had this to say about Fordham, according to KYW's Matt Leon:

"They have four double-figure scorers in their program," he points out. "One is (sophomore forward) Chris Gaston, who is arguably the best stat stuffer in our league in terms of rebounds and scoring. He's averaging a double-double (15.2 ppg, 11.1 rpg) and is just a really solid player and a tough guard for us, in all honesty, with our big guys.

"Then they have three perimeter guys who all shoot the three, and all average double figures. So you have to pay attention to them," Dunphy added.

I'm fairly certain the Owls could be playing the Little Sisters of the Poor (I think they are on Nova's schedule next season!) and he could find positives to point out.

Fordham Rams (6-15, 0-9 Atlantic 10) @ #24 Temple Owls(17-5, 7-2)
7:00 PM February 2, 2011
The Liacouras Center Philadelphia, PA

ALL-TIME
Temple leads the series 36-13. The Owls have won the last three meetings.

LAST TIME
1/5/2011
- Ramone Moore and Juan Fernandez both scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds en route to a 70-51 victory over the Rams at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ. Micheal Eric had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds to go along with two blocks while Lavoy Allen notched 12 points. The Owls went on a 20-4 run at the outset of the second half to ice the game.

HEAD COACHES
Temple

Fran Dunphy
Record at Temple: 101-54 (5th season)
All-Time Record: 411-217 (21st season)

Fordham
Tom Pecora
Record at Fordham: 6-15 (1st season)
All-Time Record: 161-145 (10th season)

TOP PERFORMERS
Temple

PPG: G Ramone Moore - 14.2
RPG: F Lavoy Allen - 6.7
APG: G Juan Fernandez - 3.9

Fordham
PPG: F Chris Gaston - 15.2
RPG: F Chris Gaston - 11.1
APG: G Brenton Butler - 3.6

PROBABLE STARTERS
Temple

Lavoy Allen F - 10.8 ppg. 6.7 rpg. 1.7 bpg.
Scootie Randall F - 11.4 ppg 4.8 rpg. .516 fg%
Micheal Eric F - 6.9 ppg. 5.7 rpg. 1.5 bpg.
Juan Fernandez G - 9.7 ppg. 3.1 rpg. 3.9 apg.
Ramone Moore G - 14.2 ppg. 4.4 rpg. 3.2 apg

Fordham
Chris Gaston F - 15.2 ppg. 11.1 rpg. 1.1 apg.
Kervin Bristol F - 3.8 ppg. 6.3 rpg. 0.2 apg.
Branden Frazier G - 11.9 ppg. 2.6 rpg. 3.3 apg.
Alberto Estwick G - 10.4 ppg. 3.8 rpg. 1.9 apg.
Brenton Butler G - 14.3 ppg. 2.1 rpg. 3.6 apg.

LAST OUTING
Temple (80-67 victory over Rhode Island)
From the Associated Press:

Scootie Randall scored 27 points as Temple defeated Rhode Island 80-67 Saturday afternoon for its fourth straight win.

The Owls (17-5, 7-2 Atlantic 10 Conference) won their 18th straight home game and remained tied for third with Richmond in league play, thanks to hot shooting. They made 25 of 47 shots (53.2 percent), led by Randall's 10-of-13 shooting.

Khalif Wyatt scored 14 points while Lavoy Allen and Ramone Moore each added 13 for the Owls, who beat the Rams (14-9, 5-4) for the fifth straight time and lead the series 55-15. Allen also had 10 rebounds as the Owls outrebounded the Rams 38-24.

Fordham (77-60 loss to Richmond)
From the Associated Press:

Justin Harper's 16 points led three Spiders in double figures as Richmond defeated Fordham 77-60 on Saturday afternoon, handing the Rams their 35th consecutive Atlantic 10 Conference loss.

The Spiders' other double-digit scorers were Dan Geriot, who scored 15 points, and Kevin Anderson, who scored all 14 of his points in the first half.

PREDICTION
Temple is a 21.5 point favorite heading into tonight's game. I am usually not a big fan of lines that big but Temple has been a juggernaut at the Liacouras Center and will probably use this game to make sure everything is working smoothly going in to Saturday's showdown against Dayton. I am smelling a rout: Temple 83, Fordham 58

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