ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - It was close for a while and then it wasn't. Then it kind of was. And then Temple blew the Explorers out of Boardwalk Hall.
The Owls advanced to the semi-finals of the Atlantic 10 tournament four the fourth consecutive year after a 96-76 victory over the upset minded Explorers on Friday night.
The win was Temple's 10th consecutive A10 tournament triumph. They have not lost a game in Atlantic City since 2007 when they were bounced by St. Joseph's in the first round.
The Owls had five double-digit scorers led by Ramone Moore's game-high 23 points. The junior guard went 9 of 14 from the floor and also pulled down four board and dished out three assists.
As has become the norm, Lavoy Allen collected his 11th double-double of the year with 14 points and 12 rebounds. His double-double streak is now at six games.
The first team All-Conference selection also had a game-high six assists to go along with four steals and three blocks.
Khalif Wyatt (20 points on 7 of 12 shooting), Juan Fernandez (19 points on 6 of 13 shooting) and Aaron Brown (14 points on 5 of 11 shooting) rounded out Temple's double-digit scorers.
As a team, the Owls shot 52.2 percent (35 of 67) overall and 52.6 percent (10 of 19) from distance. They also connected on 16 of 18 free throws.
The Cherry and White had to shoot the lights out as, in almost a replay of their game last Saturday, the Explorers had little problem scoring the ball. La Salle shot 53.8 percent (31 of 58) from the floor and 50 percent (8 of 16) from beyond the arc.
Sophomore Aaric Murray led the Explorers with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
Turnovers proved to be their undoing as La Salle committed 22 miscues to Temple's six.
La Salle kept the game interesting for a while they held a 17-16 lead with just under twelve minutes to go in the first half. A Wyatt jumper ignited a 17-5 run that turned the deficit into a 33-22 lead. From there the Owls held La Salle at bay as they never led by less than nine points for the rest of the opening stanza.
Senior Ruben Guillandeaux cut Temple's lead to six, 51-45, in the second half after a three-pointer with 14:55 remaining. Temple answered with a 10-0 run that Moore started and capped with a three-pointer and a layup respectively.
That run signaled the beginning of the end for the Explorers as Temple extended its lead to as many as 23 points.
Temple will face the winner of Friday night's final quarterfinal matchup between Richmond and Rhode Island. The Owls are the highest seed left standing and the odds on favorite for the four-peat.