Philadelphia, PA - No surprises here. Temple let the Hokies get ahead 8-3 and then laid the wood on them for an easy 71-52 win.
Tech started out the game with two straight three-pointers by Brendan Dunlop and a Brian Chase layup that gave the Hokies an 8-3 lead at the first media timeout, but it was all Temple from there. Temple drilled Tech with a 16-3 run to take a 19-10 lead with ten minutes to go.
The Hokies closed the gap to 24-17 but then gave up another run to Temple, this one a 12-5 stretch that included a Mark Karcher three-pointer at the first half buzzer that gave the Owls a 36-22 half time lead.
In the second half, Tech trimmed the lead to 38-27 with seventeen minutes to go on a Jon Smith dunk, but then Temple quit fooling around and put the Hokies away. Eight straight points by the Owls put them up 46-27, and after that, it was just a question of running out the clock.
It's doubtful that the absence of Dennis Mims had much to do with Tech's loss. Surely, he could have made a little bit of difference to a Tech team that was thoroughly outplayed in the paint. The Hokies were outrebounded 43-24 and snagged only 6 offensive rebounds.
Rolan Roberts, Andre Ray, and Russ Wheeler were outmanned inside and only generated 9 points total, with Wheeler and Ray going scoreless. Wheeler fouled out in just 24 minutes of playing time and went 0-5, missing his signature 15-foot jumper in the lane several times, as well as an open put-back in the second half. Ray pulled down only 3 rebounds and took just one shot in 28 minutes, and Roberts struggled, picking up 4 fouls.
The only other post player who scored was freshman Jon Smith, who came on strong late in the season. In this game, Smith scored 6 points in 21 minutes and played without turning the ball over a single time.
Out on the perimeter, it was a different story. Brian Chase led Tech with 16 points and hit 4 of 10 three-pointers. Brendan Dunlop had 12 points and was the only Tech player to shoot over 50%, going 4-7 from the field, including 2-4 from three-point range. All told, Tech's guards went 8-21 (38%) from three-point range, a decent performance against Temple's vaunted matchup zone.
And the Hokies only turned the ball over 10 times, so it wasn't as if they totally fell apart. They simply didn't shoot well (18-49, for 37%) and got destroyed on the boards. Defensively, Tech was unable to defend the three-point shot, as the Owls hit ten three-pointers. Although Temple was only 10-27 (37%) from three point range, it seemed more like 15-25.
Although Tech assistant coach Donnie Marsh spoke hopefully of an NIT bid in his postseason comments, the Hokies' season is over. Tech came into the A-10 Tournament with an RPI ranking of 143, behind such notables as Samford, Akron, and Central Connecticut State, so unless the Big East has incredible political clout with the Atlantic 10, Tech won't play again for about eight months.
And thankfully, they won't have to play the Temple Owls again for a long time.