DAYTON, Ohio – My look at some of the best and worst performances and happenings from Temple’s 76-72 East Regional second-round victory over N.C. State here Friday at University of Dayton Arena:
Best performance: It would be insane to not give this award to Khalif Wyatt. His 31 points were tied for the fifth most by an Owl in the NCAA tournament. It was also the most tournament points by a Temple player since Mark Macon had 31 in 1991. The Norristown native scored 12 of Temple's final 17 points. His final two points came on a pair of foul shots with two seconds left. He accomplished all that after jamming his left thumb with 16 minutes, 38 seconds to play.
Worst performance: Averaging 8.5 points, Wolfpack reserve Rodney Purvis was supposed to create matchup problems. But the freshman was held to two points on 1-for-3 shooting. He also committed three turnovers while fouling out with two seconds left. That foul enabled Wyatt to clinch the game.
Best defensive performance: This award goes to Tony DiLeo. The Temple reserve guard played 22 minutes of lockdown defense. DiLeo and Will Cummings both frustrated N.C. State’s sharpshooter Scott Wood. DiLeo also had two huge first-half steals.
Best performance by N.C. State: Lorenzo Brown gets this one. The junior point guard showed why he’s a second-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, finishing with a 22 points and a game-high nine assists. Sixteen of his point came after intermission.
Worst statistic: This goes to the Wolfpack’s first-half three-point shooting. N.C. State shot just 16.7 percent (1-for-6) before intermission.
Best statistic: This had to go N.C. State’s second-half shooting performance. The Wolfpack shot 70.4 percent (19 of 27) from the field after intermission.
Best prediction: Erick Koeck, who goes by @ekoeck on Twitter, gets this award for predicting Temple would win, 76-73. Congrats Erick for having the closest prediction.
Best of the best: This goes to the Temple's fans, who attended the game. They were vocal and gave the Owls a lift during certain stretches. Playing in Dayton, which is nine hours away from Philly, benefits Temple. This atmosphere was far different from the Owls' last two tourney appearances in Nashville and Tuscon.
Worst of the Worst: This had to go to Wood’s composure. The guard kept complaining to the officials during the game. Then he snapped at a North Carolina reporter for asking a legitimate question in the postgame press conference. The question was: "All year you guys have been kind of taking criticism of not having the full effort for 40 minutes. Do you think that's a fair criticism, and do you think that played out at all today?"
It was obvious that he didn’t enjoy his time in Dayton. SMH!
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 Sunday at 1:45 p.m. before the Owls’ third-round matchup with Indiana.