Temple beats Penn St., 65-59

December 6, 2008 7:53:15 PM PST
A low-scoring game by Dionte Christmas typically means trouble for Temple. Not on Saturday night - not with less-heralded guys like Semaj Inge filling the void and the Owls playing tough defense.

Inge had career highs of 19 points and four steals, Ryan Brooks added 15 points and Temple (4-3) held Penn State to 35 percent shooting in a 65-59 win that snapped a two-game losing skid.

"There is a relief sometime with a guy like Dionte. We hope he can get the numbers," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "But there are selected games where maybe everyone else is stepping up." Talor Battle had 19 points, while Jamelle Cornley had 14 for poor-shooting Penn State (18-of-52 from the field).

Usually it's other Owls letting Christmas shoulder the scoring load - not a bad plan considering he's led the Atlantic 10 in scoring the previous two years. His 21.8-point average coming into Saturday led the conference this season, too.

So it's typically a good sign for opponents when Christmas finishes with a line like he had against Penn State: 1-of-7 shooting, including 0-of-4 from 3-point territory, for a season-low two points in 27 minutes. It was his lowest-scoring outing since getting three points in an NCAA tournament second-round loss to Michigan State last season.

Inge was 6-of-9 from the field and hit open shots against a Penn State squad still on a high from beating Georgia Tech on the road earlier in the week. Inge also added six assists against a defense that seemed to lack energy all night.

"It's part of my regular game. Just try to attack the basket," the senior co-captain said. "If I don't have a play for myself, have a play for my teammates."

Forward Lavoy Allen added 11 points for Temple, which enjoyed a 34-18 scoring advantage in the paint. The Owls also ended Penn State's nine-game home winning streak, the longest stretch for the Nittany Lions (7-2) in 12 years.

"If you told me Christmas scored two points and they scored 65, I would have thought we would have won this thing," Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said.

Penn State rarely found rhythm on offense, badgered by tight Temple defense and rushed into bad shots.

"Everyone tried to do something themselves," DeChellis said. "It was like putting 10 pounds of potatoes in a five-pound sack."

It didn't help Penn State that lightning-quick shooting guard Stanley Pringle, the team's second-leading scorer (15.8 ppg), left the game midway through the first half with an apparent right ankle injury after trying to defend in the lane. DeChellis said he wasn't sure how long Pringle would be out.

Pringle's ability to help Battle create shots and turnovers was sorely missed on offense, especially after Temple erased a six-point deficit early in the first half.


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