PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Scrawled on a board inside Temple's locker
room is a message that reads: "NCAA tournament. No excuses."
No margin for error is more accurate at this point.
Mardy Collins scored 23 points and Temple snapped a two-game
losing streak with a 76-52 victory over woeful Duquesne on
Mark Tyndale added 12 points and Antywane Robinson and Wayne
Marshall each had 11 for Temple (13-9, 6-5 Atlantic 10). The Owls
haven't been this far above .500 this late in the season since
starting 18-4 in 1999-2000.
But a winning record isn't Temple's goal. Getting an NCAA bid
for the first time since 2001 is the priority.
"We can't lose any more games," Tyndale said, fully aware that
Temple still has to play No. 2 Duke later this month. "We might
not get a bubble bid."
Temple needs a strong finish over its final six games and will
probably have to go deep in the conference tournament to have a
realistic shot at going back to the NCAA tournament.
The Owls have made 17 appearances in the NCAAs under Hall of
Fame coach John Chaney, but have been relegated to playing in the
NIT for the last four years.
"We want to build some momentum the last six games so we don't
have to win the A-10 tournament," Collins said.
"I thought we competed," Dukes coach Danny Nee said. "We came
in and we wanted to play a certain way and for most of the night we
did. Temple sometimes pushes you out of it."
Temple started pulling away late in the first half with an 8-0
run. Tyndale made a layup after a nifty behind-the-back,
give-and-go pass to Dustin Salisbery. He followed that with a steal
and dunk to give the Owls a 36-20 lead.
Three-pointers by McAllister and Duke helped Duquesne cut it to
38-26 at halftime.
But Temple opened the second half with another 8-0 run. Marshall
scored on a putback and Tyndale's free throw gave the Owls their
biggest lead to that point, 46-26.
The Owls led by double digits for the entire second half,
earning another lopsided victory over Duquesne. Temple has won 11
of the last 12 games against the Dukes, including the last four
meetings at the Liacouras Center by an average margin of 30.7
Collins scored 15 points in the second half and finished
10-for-14 from the field. Temple missed nine of its 12 free throws,
but was 9-for-20 from 3-point range.
"I don't think there's a team in the league that's better than
us individually, both offensively and defensively," Chaney said.
"But it takes a long time to get kids to play with energy as a
team. Team offense and team defense, there's many teams better than
us. They don't feed off one guy."