Graduating three starters, including the leading scorer, leading rebounder and leading assist man, has made little difference for the Temple Owls this season as former role players and freshmen are stepping up big time. Discount the loss to Canisus last week due to some second-half shooting gone horribly wrong, with an upset of Syracuse at Madison Square Garden, this is the fifth straight season in which Fran Dunphy's Temple team has defeated a Top 10 team.
Despite not having a frontcourt presence on the roster above 220 pounds, the Owls'bigs play smart and play with toughness. Lanky lefty Anthony Lee is a true competitor on the glass and on the defensive end, but came to play against Syracuse mainly on the offensive end. Lee was all around the rim, working his way through the 2-3 zone to get looks and earn trips to the foul line. What a second-half for Lee to hit the glass, get out in transition and get easy, uncontested buckets. Lee continually battled and hustled for loose balls, offensive balls and challenge the Syracuse bigs throughout.
But the real star on the roster is Khalif Wyatt, a fiery competitor on both ends of the floor, was playing like the A-10 Player of the Year we know he can be. Wyatt was the go-to option throughout the game, especially in the first half as he continually sliced through the defense, hitting a vast array of runners and floaters. He was as cool as ice down the clutch, finishing the game perfect (15-15) from the foul line, leading to a career-high 32 points.