EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - For a while there in the first half it looked like Temple had reverted back to their Old Spice Classic form. They turned the ball over at an alarming rate, played way too fast on offense and looked sluggish on defense.
Then, to steal former Temple football coach Al Golden's gimmick, they flipped the switch and did not look back. Thanks to a 33-4 run that started with about seven minutes to go in the first half and extended well into the second stanza, the Owls won comfortably, 70-51.
Four players scored in double figures for the Cherry and White, who improved to 10-3 after winning their conference opener. Temple shot 45.9 percent for the game and held the Rams to just 38.2 percent from the field, one tenth of a point under the Owls season average.
Juan Fernandez had a poor shooting night both inside and outside the arc but it was his three-pointer with 3:58 to go in the first half that knotted the game at 27 and ignited Temple's monstrous run. The Argentinian finished with 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Fernandez was stone cold from outside to start the game as he missed his first four three-pointers. The lack of outside shooting allowed Fordham defenders to tighten up their D around the paint. Once Fernandez started to hit the Rams were forced to stretch out their defense which allowed the likes of Lavoy Allen and Micheal Eric to flourish.
Allen scored six of his 12 points in the last 3:25 of the first half and finished the game with 12 points but just two rebounds. Eric showed Temple fans what he can do when he actually stays out of foul trouble and on the floor to the tune of 14 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.
Eric's 27 minutes were the most he has seen in nearly a month when he played the same amount in an 82-47 victory over Akron on Dec. 12. Not surprisingly, he had a very good game against the Zips with 16 points, five rebounds and four blocks.
Ramone Moore was the fourth Temple player to score double figures as he notched 15 points on 6 of 13 shooting. While his shooting woes carried over from the Villanova game he showed that he is more than proficient at getting to the rim as he blew by defenders multiple times for easy layups. The junior guard from Philadelphia also finished with a game-high four assists.
Temple came into the game leading the conference in scoring defense at 59.8 points per game. This marked the eighth time this season that Temple has held a team to under 60 points; the Owls are 6-2 in those games.
Branden Frazier led the Rams with 16 points. Superstar sophomore forward Chris Gaston had a very quiet night by his standards with eight points and a team-high five rebounds.
The Rams entered the game second in the Atlantic 10 in rebounding with an average of 39.8 boards per game. They were held to just 22 on Wednesday night. Conversely, the Owls had 40 rebounds, of which 15 of them were offensive.
The Owls will be back at it on Sunday afternoon when they take on the visiting St. Louis Billikens, who will be without head coach Rick Majerus as he will miss the next three games with a leg affection as per the Associated Press.
NOTES: The Rams lost their third straight contest and 27th straight conference game. They were 1-15 in the A10 in 2008-09 and 0-16 last year ... Rahlir Jefferson played 23 minutes off the bench and made up for his poor outing at Villanova with two points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals ... Khalif Wyatt scored five points off the bench and added two more steals to his collection; not bad for a supposed defensive liability