ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Some quick halftime thoughts as top seed Temple and St. Bonaventure open up quarterfinal play in the A-10 tourney here at Boardwalk Hall:
The Owls, who are the Atlantic 10’s only ranked team at No. 17, haven’t played in a week but it didn’t show early on as they jumped out to a 24-8 lead just shy of the midway point of the first half. From that point on the Bonnies actually outscored Temple 19-15. But that could have something to do with Fran Dunphy’s club easing off the throttle a bit once it established control.
Not surprisingly, Temple has the advantage in nearly every statistical category. The Owls hit 50 percent from the floor (17-34) and were 4-of-11 from 3-point range. More impressive is the 13 to 3 assist-to-turnover ratio and the 24 to 16 points in the paint advantage. The Owls have three players in double figures, led by guard Juan Fernandez’s 12 points on 4 of 6 shooting (3-for-4 from 3). The leading scorer for St. Bonaventure is forward Andrew Nicholson who has 8 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 2 blocks.
The key to the second half for Temple is to put the game away without incident or injury and get rested for Saturday’s semifinal against the winner of No. 4 Saint Louis and No. 5 Rhode Island. For the Bonnies to make this a game, they will have to continue hitting at a 50 percent clip from 3-point range, but do so in much larger quantities than the 3-for-6 effort in the first half.