There was no postgame celebration, but after yesterday's 81-69 victory over Charlotte at the Liacouras Center, the Temple Owls at least know this: They are officially in the Atlantic Ten Conference tournament.
Knowing that his team won't be one of the two left home, Fran Dunphy looked at the bigger picture, with two A-10 regular-season games remaining, at home against Dayton on Wednesday and the finale Saturday at Fordham.
"If we're going to do anything in the tournament, then we're going to have to get to a point where we are more confident than we were the last couple of games," Dunphy said after Temple improved to 12-15 overall and 6-8 in the A-10.
Count Mark Tyndale in the upbeat crowd. The junior guard scored 37 points, his second career high in a week. Tyndale made all five three-pointers he tried and was ultra-aggressive in getting to the hoop, making 14 of 17 shots overall, to go along with a team-high nine rebounds, two blocks and three steals.
Other than five turnovers, his only blip kept him short of the 40-point mark: A 75.8 percent free-throw shooter going into the game, Tyndale made just 4 of 11 foul shots and missed the front end of two one-and-ones.
"I couldn't understand that one at all," Tyndale said. "Somebody told me I should shoot threes for free throws. I heard a fan in the stands saying that."
Asked about Tyndale's play, Dunphy first lauded an offensive rebound that turned into a score after Charlotte (13-14, 6-8) had cut a 17-point lead to nine points with just over five minutes left.
"He just decided that he was going to get a rebound," Dunphy said. "It was just a terrific effort by him and a stick-back that gave us a little bit of breathing room."
Then, Dunphy had this to say, "He's one of those guys - and Coach [John] Chaney and I, when we talk, we talk a lot about Mark - and he's always going to do something, and you hope that most of them are really good things. He does some just incredibly mindless things as well. He'll say to you that I remind him more of the mindless than I do of the brilliant, and maybe that is true."
After getting dismantled Thursday night by St. Joseph's, Dunphy switched up his starting lineup, going bigger, putting center Sergio Olmos out there instead of point guard Semaj Inge.
Still, to go along with his five points in 24 minutes, Inge had a career-high five rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Playing without Inge at the point wasn't perfect, either. The Owls had 18 turnovers, divided up pretty evenly among the guards. Neither Dustin Salisbery (seven points) nor Dionte Christmas (13 points) got going offensively, although freshman Ryan Brooks had 10 points in a season-high 24 minutes.