One Step Closer

The NCAA Tournament bubble is an uncomfortable place and one the Temple men's basketball team hasn't seen in a few years. But some uneven play, including an unexpected home loss to St. Bonaventure, has moved the Owls from comfortably positioned to counting victories heading into February. Thanks to Scootie Randall, Temple picked up a much-needed 71-64 home win against Richmond.

The NCAA Tournament bubble is an uncomfortable place and one the Temple men's basketball team hasn't seen in a few years.

But some uneven play of late, including an unexpected home loss to St. Bonaventure, has moved the Owls from comfortably positioned to counting victories heading into February.

Thanks to Scootie Randall, who heated up with the outside temperatures on Wednesday, Temple picked up a much-needed 71-64 home win against Richmond. The Owls outscored the Spiders, 10-3, over the final 3:07, starting with a Khalif Wyatt three-pointer that snapped a 61-all tie.

Temple improved to 14-6 overall and 3-3 in the Atlantic 10. Randall, who has been cold since the first few games of the season, led the way with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting.

"It'd be nice if (the slump) is over and done with and we're moving on," said Temple coach Fran Dunphy. "To be honest, I'm surprised he missed the last one. He seemed to be feeling pretty good about himself."

Randall has been calmly assuring during the rough stretch that he would eventually find his way out of the doldrims he has been in.

"I've been playing basketball a long time," said Randall. "Even great players struggle, and I've been fortunate to have teammates who support me."

Wyatt scored 19 points and Anthony Lee scored 12 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Rahilir Hollis-Jefferson added 11 points.

Richmond (13-9, 3-4) was led by Darien Brothers' 22 points.

"It felt good to win," said Wyatt. "We showed some good signs. We had a good lead, they fought back, with five minutes left it was tied and we did a good job sticking together. We made shots and got stops."

The Owls played without senior T.J. Dileo, who suffered an ankle sprain less than three minutes into his third career start last Saturday at Butler. Will Cummings took over his position as starter and finished with four points, four rebounds, an assist and turnover.

All five Temple starters played over 30 minutes as the Owls went to their three-man bench for just 29 minutes.

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