ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Two years after replacing John Chaney, Fran Dunphy has returned Temple basketball to national prominence.
The Owls earned their first NCAA Tournament berth since Chaney led them to the Elite Eight in 2001 by knocking off archrival Saint Joseph's 69-64 behind Dionte Christmas' 22-point performance in the championship of the Atlantic 10 tournament Saturday night.
"This is a new program and what Fran Dunphy has done over the two years is extraordinary," Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said. "I am not knocking anyone. He got guys who were average and made them believe through hard work that they are pretty good college players."
MAC: Haminn Quaintance scored 16 and Kent State crowned a dominant conference season by beating bitter rival Akron 74-55 in Cleveland to reserve a slot in the NCAA brackets. With their fifth tourney title and second in three years, the Golden Flashes left little doubt about their place in the MAC. They won the league's East title and had the player of the year, the top coach and its best defensive player, Quaintance, who was chosen tournament MVP.
America East: Darryl Proctor scored 23 to help Maryland-Baltimore County earn its first trip to the NCAA Tournament with an 82-65 victory over Hartford in Catonsville, Md.