'Best' and 'Worst' awards: Temple vs. Rhode Island

Temple's Jake O'Brien scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against Rhode Island. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)

My look at some of the best and worst performances and happenings from Temple’s 76-70 victory over Rhode Island on Saturday at the Liacouras Center: 

Best performance: It’s becoming impossible to not give this award to Khalif Wyatt, even on off shooting nights like Saturday. That’s because the senior guard scored seven of Temple’s final 12 points to lead it to victory. Wyatt finished with a team-high 24 points on a 6-for-16 shooting night. He did make 9 of 11 foul shots. He wasn’t the most efficient player. Nor did he score the most points. Yet, he, once again, took over the game in the clutch. That’s the reason why the Norristown native nabbed the award over teammates Will Cummings, Jake O’Brien and Scootie Randall and Rhode Island’s Xavier Munford.

Worst performance:  Averaging 10.6 points, Nikola Malesevic was supposed to be a solid No. 2 scoring option for Rhode Island. Instead, the senior forward was held to two points on 1-for-6 shooting. Malesevic did have six rebounds and three assists. Yet, that was overshadowed by his four fouls and lack of offensive production.

Best defensive performance:  This award goes to O’Brien. The 6-foot-9 stretch forward is not known for being a solid defender. Actually, he’s been a liability on some occasions. Saturday night was not one of them. The Boston University transfer had a game-high three blocked shots to go with a steal. The senior also finished with 10 rebounds – seven defensive – and scored 16 points.

Best performance by a Ram: Munford had to get this one. The junior guard showed why he was a junior college all-American last season at Iowa Western College, finishing with a game-high 30 points. Munford, who played for Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley at St. Benedict’s Prep, made 5 of 8 three-point attempts.

Worst statistic:  This goes to Temple’s turnovers. The Owls turned the ball over 14 times eight after intermission.

Best statistic: This goes to Cummings’ shooting performance. The sophomore made six of his seven shot attempts en route to scoring 15 points

Worst of the Worst: This had to go to Rhode Island’s composure. The Rams were visibly frustrated with the officiating.  And they received two technical fouls due to lack of restraint. Munford received one of the technical fouls. The other one went to Hurley.