Christmas Comes Early for Temple
“Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!”
Those were the cheers coming from the crowd in Philly as they watched their star guard Dionte Christmas throw up a career-high 35 points, leading to an 88-72 win over the #8 Tennessee Volunteers (6-2). With 7 three-pointers (three straight at one point), Christmas gave the Temple Owls (5-3) one of their biggest upsets in school history.
Not only did the Owls play the best game they could have (Sergio Olmos had a career-high 19 points off the bench, and Ryan Brooks had 16 points to go with 10 rebounds), but they were witness to something we’re not used to seeing… a Tennessee basketball team struggle.
They Vols just never got it going. At no point during the game did they ever hold the lead, the closest they ever came was when it was 0-0 at the start of the 1st half. Tyler Smith couldn’t make a shot for the first 10 minutes, and struggled from deep, ending 1-5 from three-point range. I watched as Temple continued to shift up their defense, and kept our Baller Vols off balance for the majority of the game. Just to prove my point, Tennessee shot 36% from the floor, compared to 55% for the Temple Owls.
These losses were to be expected from a team that lost almost all of its offense from last year, save Tyler Smith. But just because it’s expected doesn’t make it any easier. I cringed today watching a team I’m used to seeing cream schools like Temple struggle to put points on the board. Expect this team to bounce back and show more consistency in three days time when they face #24 Marquette.
Now, I’m off to watch Georgetown throttle Memphis. It’s what I need for Christmas.
Also, there’s a great article on ESPN about Tennessee Basketball by Andy Katz. I’m now his new biggest fan.