ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - Four the first time in four years the Temple Owls will not be crowned Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament champions as the Richmond Spiders were able to knock them off 58-54.
The Owls' poor shooting combined with timely baskets by Richmond's Kevin Anderson and Justin Harper were their undoing.
Anderson led all scorers with 22 points including several crucial jumpers in the game's waning moments. Harper has 18 points of his own.
All other Richmond players scored a combined 18 points.
Temple shot 35 percent from the floor (20 of 57) and all too often settled for contest three-point attempts. The Owls connected on just 28 percent from distance (7 of 25).
Juan Fernandez was the biggest culprit when it came to forcing bad shots. He was driving the ball and looking for contact rather than working for a better look.
Fernandez's final shooting numbers: seven points on 3 of 17 shooting and 1 of 7 from beyond the arc.
He did do some fine work setting up teammates as he dished out a career-high 10 assists. More deferrals from Fernandez would have probably gone a long way in changing the outcome of the game. The junior guard also pulled down a season-high seven rebounds.
Ramone Moore was another Owl who struggled shooting the ball as he collected 11 points on 4 of 12 shooting. The Philadelphia native made just 1 of his 5 three-point attempts.
Khalif Wyatt led the Owls with 15 points off the bench on 5 of 11 shooting but it was his attempt to draw a foul with 34 seconds remaining that nailed Temple's casket shut.
Instead of getting fouled, Richmond's Francis-Cedric Martel was able to steal the ball away which forced Wyatt to put him on the line intentionally. Martel made both free-throws to extend the Spiders' lead to three, 57-54, with 28 seconds to go.
The Owls went into halftime with a 31-30 lead which was impressive due to the fact that they were forced to battle through some serious foul trouble in the first half as Rahlir Jefferson was whistled for three infractions and Lavoy Allen two.
The Owls were able to hold a lead despite running a five guard offense for long periods in the game's opening 20 minutes.
Allen was the lone bright spot for the Owls as he extended his double-double streak to seven games with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Now Temple has to play the waiting game as they will find out tomorrow night where the Selection Committee will seed them.