ATLANTIC CITY -- It's over, the Owls are dancing! The Temple fans streak onto the court and the players go berserk. Christmas rips his shirt off and runs to the sideline, and the bench streaks toward center court. I couldn't see who, but someone has grabbed Clark and is carrying him off the court. Olmos is flipping out as well. Christmas now is hugging a relative while holding back tears and shouting the whole time.
It was a great game, even though the very end wasn't down to the wire. Carr turned it on in the second half, and Nivins had a great game, but the collective effort of the Owls was too much, all the way in the second half.
FINAL: Temple 69, St. Joe's 64
Owls fans are getting ready to rush the court... They start the chant "The Hawk is dead" and Hawks fans claim again it "will never die."
0:06.1 2nd Half: Temple 68, St. Joe's 61
The Temple fans are sensing it happening. Carr cuts it to four with a drive, but Brooks hits two on the line.
Tyndale finally hits from the line and it is just about done.
0:20.3 2nd Half: Temple 64, St. Joe's 59
Calathes spins toward the hoop, and can't seem to go anywhere. He gets the ball back and misses a three.
Tyndale misses free throws, and Carr misses another three for the Hawks.
0:48.8 2nd Half: Temple 63, St. Joe's 59
Calathes drains a jumper over Tyndale, just after Tyndale missed two free throws.
Wow, Christmas strips Calathes going to the hoop, and Clark goes to the line for two.
2:27 2nd Half: Temple 63, St. Joe's 57
Nivins makes both free throws off of the offensive board, but Tyndale drives the lane and finds Brooks on the outside for a triple.
Finally. Calathes hits a three as Tyndale floated to far in help defense, and Carr capitalizes off of a Tyndale miss hard in the lane.
Clark drives, though, and finds Brooks for an easy two. Carr manhandles Brooks once again, though.
But Tyndale takes it into his own hands, again, stepping through for the and-1 to takes a six-point lead. Tyndale then goes back to beating Calathes, this time dishing to Christmas inside.
8:12 2nd Half: Temple 53, St. Joe's 46
The Hawks fans chant "airball" as Brooks misses from three, and the Owls fans come back with "scoreboard!" I really don't think "scoreboard" is a valid chant when you're up six.
Brooks follows that up with an an-1 from 13 feet out, pumping his fist after. There have been a lot of fouls called, maybe a few too many.
9:41 2nd Half: Temple 49, St. Joe's 44
Calathes is sitcking to Clark, even on screens. Martelli really wants to keep the little man off his game, but it's not working - Allen hits again.
Christmas is money on a three on the pass from Clark, and the Hawks are in big trouble. Calathes hits a three of his own, though, and it's back to a 6-pt game.
Then, Allen's pass to Clark in the corner gets blocked, and the Hawks get the ball back to Nivins inside, and he makes two from the line.
The crowd for both teams is getting louder as the lead is four....
11:52 2nd Half: Temple 43, St. Joe's 37
Olmos and Nivins can't convert, and Christmas misses over two guys.
Allen scores inside, but Carr gets three of those points back with an and-1 layup. Calathes is guarding Clark, though it might just be for a possession. Nope, he's really guarding him.
As a result, Temple works the high-low, and Olmos scores and and-1. Tyndale clenches his fists. This has truly been a fantastic run for Temple, and an equally-amazing collapse for the Hawks. They have scored five points in eight minutes, and were on a five-minutes scoring drought.
It's a great atmosphere here, both fan groups have been loud, though it's been Temple producing the noise as of late.
14:53 2nd Half: Temple 39, St. Joe's 34
Allen dunks around Ferguson in a play that was a lot easier than it should have been. And after a nice skip pass from Tyndale, Christmas hits a well-contested three over Carr.
Nivins scores a nasty tip-in, but Christmas penetrates the lane effortlessly for a layup.
Clark has missed two threes from the corner, but both have been rebounded offensively. Olmos now gets fouled on that possession, and the Owls all of a sudden have a chance to take the lead.
And Clark does just that. And more.
He has the gravitas to attempt yet another corner three, and Clark drains it to take Temple's first lead of the game. Then Clark plucks Calathes' pocket and hangs in the air to avoid Carr's defense to take a five-point lead.
Stats: With Calathes playing only 13 minutes and taking four shots, Govens and Nivins are taking control of the game, scoring nine and 12 points, respectively. Like Govens, Christmas is 4-for-8, but the guard has netted 12 points. Allen has played well inside again for Temple, getting those two blocks as well as four rebounds.
St. Joe's has made almost twice as many shots as the Owls (13-of-30 to Temple's 7-of-25). The teams are equal in rebounding, but Temple has committed eight turnovers compared to only four assists.
Halftime: Temple 25, St. Joe's 32
Man, Clark just hit a huge three. He's so fast he was essentially guarded by no one after a jab step, and hits the trey.
Martelli deftly calls a timeout with 5.4 seconds remaining in the half. Unlike the second half, the clock keeps running, and it takes three ticks to inbound the ball, so the Hawks save a possession, but Ferguson misses a three.
0:30.4 1st Half: Temple 22, St. Joe's 32
Olmos finally slows Nivins down, forcing im to shoot a bad hook, but the next possession Nivins once again scores at will.
Brooks gets the ball over Nivins on the perimeter, but doesn't realize the shot clock is running down until it's too late.
Calathes is called for travel, or carry or something. I didn't see anything. Brooks airballs another shot, and Olmos barely gets a layup off before getting fouled.
Clark was just guarding Calathes, funniest thing ever, 14-inch difference. Well, not funny for the Owls. Calathes gets doubled because of it, and Ferguson is wide open for a three which he of course hits. He just might get one of my five votes for all-tourney team.
3:36 1st Half: Temple 21, St. Joe's 27
Nivins hits an elbow jumper, and Govens scores yet again on a drive. The Hawks always seem to have someone in double
Christmas makes it look easy, hitting another three over Williamson.
Thanks to a screen, Calathes gets by Tyndale and slaps the backboard for a layup, but Christmas is doing his best Darnell Harris impression, nailing a 25 footer. Williamson's long arms can do nothing about that.
7:46 1st Half: Temple 15, St. Joe's 21
My, how the tides have changed.
Christmas simply takes the ball from Arvydas Lidzius at midcourt, and scores. The Owls' 3/4 press doesn't work, but Lidzius misses from point-blank range.
Then Dionte pulls up from NBA range and sinks it in Williamson's eye, and as the lanky guard falls on him, it's a four-point play.
Calathes is back in the game, surprisingly, and misses a three. Govens helps out with another jumper.
Coming off playing the entire game yesterday, Allen throws Idris Hilliard's shot away, and then has another spectacular block on Nivins, but he's whistled for a foul on the rebound, and the Owls fans go ballistic.
11:49 1st Half: Temple 5, St. Joe's 15
Calathes picks up his second foul already, and is out of the game in favor of Garrett Williamson. That's about the only thing that's gone wrong for the Hawks.
Christmas misses two threes on one possession, Tyndale misses, gets his own rebound and then misses again. Even Chris Clark bricks a three. On the other end, Govens and company are draining everything.
15:46 1st Half: Temple 5, St. Joe's 8
The crowd is now almost full, the most packed I've ever seen this building, and definitely the loudest. The chants were tame before the game, but the Temple fans booed Phil Martelli when he walked out. That's just unnecessary.
Govens connects from the elbow, and as Martelli yells something to ref Joe DeMayo, and immediately Guzman is whistled for a carry. Olmos can't convert and neither can Allen on a jumper, but Calathes misses a three and Ferguson picks up a bad foul on a rebound.
Allen somehow forgets about Nivins, and he scores on a layup inside. Tyndale gets the ball, maybe for the first time of the game, and gets fouled by Calathes on a three. He hits all of the freebies.
Nivins just beasts Olmos inside, nastily dunking on him from the reverse angle. The teams trade layup, and then Carr drives into the lane and somehow finds Nivins on the other side of the paint, and he's fouled.
We've eliminated 10 teams, but the Big 5 rules the Atlantic 10 championship game. After demolishing Fordham and Richmond, the Hawks knocked off top-seeded Xavier to enter the title game, facing Temple for the third time this year. With an RPI of 42, the Hawks may get into the NCAA tournament regardless of what happens tonight. Temple has won six straight games and is undefeated in March. The Owls knocked off La Salle in the first round, and fairly easily took out Charlotte last night to reach the final.
The last time these two teams met it was a fantastic game, and even that didn't quite live up to what happened in the first meeting. With 3.9 seconds left, Calathes sank a three to put the Hawks up by one, but Mark Tyndale came storming down the court and got off a layup at the buzzer, but at the top of its arc, Nivins swatted it away, and the Hawks won. The second time around, the Hawks led by double-figures most of the game until Tyndale scored the game's final basket with 20 seconds left and the Owls won the rematch.
There is a half-hour until tipoff, and this game already has the feel of a Big 5 game. There aren't a huge number of fans present, but the student sections have already begun chanting at each other.
G Darrin Govens
G Tasheed Carr
F Pat Calathes
F Rob Ferguson
C Ahmad Nivins
G Luis Guzman
G Dionte Christmas
G Mark Tyndale
F Lavoy Allen
C Sergio Olmos
scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="border:none; overflow:hidden; width:100px; height:27px;" allowTransparency="true">