For the fifth straight season, on Saturday the Temple Owls men's basketball team knocked off a top-10 ranked opponent during the regular season. Temple (9-2) handed the No. 3-ranked Syracuse Orange their first loss of the season, 83-79, and did so in impressive fashion in the Gotham Classic's showcase game at Madison Square Garden.
Senior guard Khalif Wyatt scored a game-high 33 points, and according to Comcast SportsNets' Nick Menta, this situation is nothing new for the Owls.
Dating back to Wyatt's senior year of high school, the 2008-09 season, an unranked Temple has upset No. 8 Tennessee, No. 3 Villanova, No. 9 Georgetown, No. 5 Duke and No. 3 Syracuse. No other program in the country has beaten a Top 10 opponent as an unranked team in each of the last five seasons.
"We've been in these situations before," sophomore Anthony Lee said.
"We've been here before," Dunphy said.
"We've got experienced guys who have done this before," Wyatt said.
The victory came on the heels of a disappointing loss to the Canisius Golden Griffins, and according to head coach Fran Dunphy, that loss was just a phase in his team's development.
"Every game is so critical in your development," Dunphy said. "And the reality is: I don't know if we would have won today had we not lost on Wednesday, to be quite frank. That game, we got a little bit of a comeuppance against Canisius. They played better than we did. They deserved to win the game, but I think our kids understood the task at hand today."
In just over two weeks, Temple will have a chance to upset another top-10 ranked team when they visit Phog Allen Fieldhouse and No. 9 Kansas Jayhawks.