My look at some of the best and worst performances and happenings from Temple’s 84-76 victory over Virginia Commonwealth on Sunday at the Liacouras Center:
Best performance: Temple’s Khalif Wyatt and Jake O’Brien will have to share this award. Wyatt, a senior guard, finished with a game-high 30 points. He made only eight of 18 shots, but Wyatt kept getting to the line, where he sank 13 of 16 free throws. He also finished with four steals, four assists, four rebounds and four turnovers. O’Brien, graduate student who plays forward, made 5 of 8 three-pointers and finished with 19 points and a game-high three blocked shots. The Boston University transfer's three-pointer with 14 minutes, 40 seconds left gave Temple an 51-48 advantage and the lead for good.
Worst performance: I couldn’t avoid giving this award to Temple center Anthony Lee, who appeared out of sync in a reserve role. While the sophomore had two blocked shots, he was held scoreless for the first time this season on 0-for-3 shooting . Lee also had two rebounds, a turnover and committed two personal fouls in just 12 minutes of action. O’Brien started in Lee’s place, because it was the grad student’s final game at the Liacouras Center.
Best defensive performance: This award goes to Wyatt. No, this isn’t a misprint. Wyatt, who’s often criticized for his defense, had a game-high four steals and made things tough for the Rams guard after intermission. One of his biggest plays came when he stole a pass by Darius Theus and turned it into a layup. This was by far the leading A-10 and Big 5 player-of-the-year candidate’s best defensive performance.
Best performance by a Ram: Melvin Johnson had to get this one. The freshman reserve guard scored 13 points in just 19 minutes of action. The Bronx, NY native, who played at St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.), shot 5-for-8 while making all three of his three-point attempts. He also had a steal.
Worst statistic: This goes to VCU’s three-point shooting after intermission. The Rams made just 2 of 9 three-point shots (22.1 percent) in the final 20 minutes.
Best statistic: VCU’s three-point shooting before intermission wins this one. The Rams made all six of their three-point shots in the first 20 minutes.
Best prediction: This goes out to Lisa Morales, who predicted on Twitter that Temple would win, 81-76. The Owls won, 84-76. Great job, Lisa.
Best of the Best: This has to go out to the Liacouras Center atmosphere. Just like in the Feb. 21 game against La Salle, this place was electric. It was also the scene of an Owls’ homecoming with the 1987-88 team and former coach John Chaney being honored during a halftime ceremony. There were also several VCU fans among the sellout crowd of 10,206.
Worst of the Worst: The Rams’ second-half defensive performance gets this award. VCU’s ‘Havoc” defensive pressure defense had a lot of holes. Breaking the press, the Owls shot 56 percent and made 7 of 13 three-pointers after intermission.
Make sure you follow me on Twitter @pompeysgridlock. As tradition, I take pre-game predictions on game days in the hour leading up the game. The person, who comes closest to predicting the actual score, will receive a Best prediction ‘Shout out’ in the “Best” and “Worst” awards. So make sure you send predictions on Friday at 8 p.m. before the Owls’ A-10 tourney quarterfinal.