CINCINNATI (AP) -- Temple's famously stingy defense got back to
what it does best -- breaking down opponents and creating havoc in
The Owls' inscrutable zone left George Washington's high-powered
offense in a shambles Thursday, setting up a 68-53 victory over the
sixth-ranked Colonials in the A10 tournament quarterfinals.
The upset will have a far-reaching effect. Now, the Atlantic 10
will get two teams in the NCAA Tournament. And, someone from
another conference will be left out.
The Colonials (26-2) never figured they'd be done so soon.
George Washington was only the fourth team to make it through
the A10 regular season without a loss. The unblemished record ended
against a team known for making opponents look bad at tournament
Coach John Chaney had his Owls sometimes switch from their famed
matchup zone to other variations -- a 2-1-2, a 3-2 -- to prevent the
Colonials' fastbreak from getting any traction.
"Temple played a fantastic game," George Washington coach Karl
Hobbs said. "The elder statesman showed that he still knows how to
get a team up and prepared to win a basketball game."
The plan was vintage Chaney: Make GW play at a numbingly
"They had to pass the ball," Chaney said. "That's not good
for athletes. Athletes just want to fly."
The Colonials came into the game as the only one-loss team in
Division I, riding an 18-game winning streak. Against Temple, those
lofty numbers became a burden. And loss No. 2 could well cost them
a high NCAA seeding.
"But it's not the end of our season," said Mike Hall, who had
12 points but was 0-for-3 from behind the arc. "The teams we play
in the tournament will be as tough if not tougher, and we've got to
be better prepared."
The upset opened the way for the Atlantic 10 to get a second
team in the NCAA Tournament, soaking up one of the 34 at-large bids
for the 65-team field. George Washington was the only A10 team to
make it last season, and was expected to go it alone again.
The last team to run the table during the A10 regular season
also got its comeuppance at tournament time. Two years ago, Saint
Joseph's was 27-0 and ranked No. 1 heading into the tournament,
only to get drubbed by Xavier in its opening game at Dayton.
Midway through the first half Thursday, the Owls (17-13) gave
hints that they were up to an upset as well, digging in and
preventing George Washington from scoring for 9 minutes, 30
The Owls lost their last three games in the regular season, but
have turned it on at tournament time.
"We always tend to play up to the level of our competition and
play down to the level of our competition," said Wayne Marshall,
who had 15 points.
Once they got up, the Owls never let up on defense, holding the
conference's top offense to 33 percent shooting from the field
while forcing 19 turnovers.
It was another notable moment Chaney, who missed last year's A10
tournament under a self-imposed suspension. Chaney was making
amends for sending Nehemiah Ingram into a game against Saint
Joseph's to purposely foul. One of the hard fouls broke the arm of
Saint Joseph's John Bryant.
George Washington has a balanced attack that averaged 80 points.
The Colonials led the A10 in scoring and shooting percentage, and
beat Temple by 12 points on Jan. 4 in their only matchup this
The Colonials looked confident as they went up 23-18 on
Elliott's 3-pointer with 7:58 left in the first half. They didn't
score again for the rest of the half, falling behind 31-23 as the
Owls' zone engulfed their offense.
Temple's big-body front line kept George Washington from
driving, and the Owls' aggressive guards disrupted the Colonials'
passing. Hobbs repeatedly called timeouts to try to straighten
things out -- nothing worked.
George Washington hadn't struggled so badly since its only loss
of the season, 79-58 to North Carolina State on Dec. 30.
Temple pushed the lead to 13 before Elliott's two free throws
early in the second half ended George Washington's 9:30 scoring
drought. The Colonials never got closer than seven the rest of the