Chaney returns after five-game suspension

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- John Chaney's return to the bench for Temple came without any fanfare -- and without any success for the Owls.

Zabian Dowdell scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half, six in a game-turning 8-0 run, and Virginia Tech beat the Owls 60-50 on Tuesday night in the first round of the NIT.

Chaney was coaching his first game since serving a three-week suspension for sending Nehemiah Ingram in to commit hard fouls that left Saint Joseph's senior John Bryant with a broken arm on Feb. 22.

He had nothing to say about his uncertain future.

"I think I hear my mother calling me," he said when asked. "I'll be leaving you now if you have no more questions (about) my kids. That's the only reason I'm here -- to talk about the team and the game."

Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw said Monday that he, Chaney and others will get together once the season is over to talk about the future.

The subject of the game was no bargain either for the Owls (16-14), who were trying to give their coach his 500th victory at Temple, but led only until Virginia Tech got a few 3-pointers to fall in the first half.

"Coming into the season, I thought this was perhaps one of my greatest teams," the 73-year-old Chaney said. "It's a bunch of players that did not mix well and we miscalculated how they could be effective."

Chaney was booed when he entered the court, and Ingram drew jeers when he made two free throws. There was security behind the Owls' bench, but Chaney remained calm throughout, mostly just sitting on the bench.

The Hokies, meantime, gave the crowd of 7,416 plenty to cheer about.

Making their first postseason appearance in nine years and their first in the NIT in a decade, Virginia Tech (16-13) shook off some early shooting woes and grabbed control once it solved the matchup zone.

"We just had to feel our way through the zone and a couple of guys stepped up," said Dowdell, who finished 3-for-9 on 3-pointers. "We made a couple of shots. After that, it was just taking care of the ball."

The Hokies, who won the NIT in 1973 and 1995, finished with five turnovers, one in the second half. After a quick look at the Hokies' basketball history this week, they became intent on adding to it.

"I lined the guys up yesterday and had them look up and read the banners and the years," second-year coach Seth Greenberg said. "We've been playing basketball a long time here, and there's only nine banners.

"This is an opportunity. You don't build a championship program overnight. It's a process, and this is part of the process," he said.

The victory was Virginia Tech's first against Temple in 10 tries. It was the fourth straight year Temple (16-14) has played in the NIT.

Carlos Dixon, the Hokies' lone senior, added 15 points and nine rebounds, and Coleman Collins had 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

Dixon hit three 3-pointers in the first half.

"We knew we had to step up and make big shots and we did," Dixon said. "That's what got us going."

Mardy Collins led Temple with 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Antywane Robinson scored 14, hitting four 3-point shots. The rest of the Owls were 4-for-17 from behind the arc, and the team was 9-for-30 inside it.

As in their last game with Chaney on the bench, the Owls were hampered by fouls. This time, 7-foot-1 center Keith Butler fouled out in 18 minutes, preventing Temple from using its distinct height advantage.

Instead, the quicker Hokies ultimately set the pace after hitting five of their last six 3-pointers in the first half to lead 31-25 at the break.