Temple solves 'Cuse zone

Temple’s Jake O’Brien, left, and Quenton DeCosey double-team Syracuse’s C.J. Fair during the first half of the Owls’ 83-79 upset.

Associated Press

Temple’s Jake O’Brien, left, and Quenton DeCosey double-team Syracuse’s C.J. Fair during the first half of the Owls’ 83-79 upset.

NEW YORK — Khalif Wyatt had never been in Madison Square Garden, let alone played there.

The Philadelphia native left the building Saturday after scoring a career-high 33 and being the key to Temple beating No. 3 Syracuse 83-79 in the first Gotham Classic.

"I always wanted to play here because all the great players had a chance to play here," Wyatt, a 6-foot-4 senior, said. "This was a chance for us to show everyone that Temple is a real program."

Anthony Lee had a career-high 21 points for the Owls (9-2), who were coming off a 10-point home loss to Canisius.

"I don't think we would have won (Saturday) without the loss in the last game," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "Our guys did a great job (Saturday). I wish it was worth more than one victory."

Temple beat a top 10 team while being unranked for the fifth straight season. This one came with the combination of Wyatt from the outside and Lee inside.

"We wanted to go inside and out, and that meant me going up strong and fighting for rebounds," said Lee, who had nine rebounds, five offensive, and worked the baseline again and again against Syracuse's vaunted zone. "That's playing the Temple game."

Wyatt challenged himself after a poor game against Canisius, Dunphy said.

"He made some really good plays when we were struggling to score and had to stay in the game," Dunphy said.

The Orange led by two at halftime but never took a lead in the second half even though there were four ties, the last at 59 with 10:23 to play.

C.J. Fair had a career-high 25 points for Syracuse (10-1), which had its 52-game regular-season nonconference winning streak snapped. Jim Boeheim remained at 900 wins, two behind Bob Knight for second place among Division I men's coaches. Duke's Mike Krzyzewski has 938.

Wyatt made all 15 of his free throws and Lee made 11-of-14 as the Owls were 29-of-36 overall.

Syracuse was 19-of-34 from the line, missing four in the final six minutes, when it was mostly a one-possession game. Point guard Michael Carter-Williams finished 7-of-15.

"They made free throws, we didn't," Boeheim said. "You don't like to say it comes down to that, but when you miss 15 free throws, it's tough to win any game."

NO. 5 LOUISVILLE 78, W. KENTUCKY 55: Russ Smith scored 20 for the visiting Cardinals (11-1), who have won six straight overall and four straight in this series against their in-state rival.

NO. 9 KANSAS 74, NO. 7 OHIO ST. 66: Redshirt freshman Ben McLemore scored 22 as the Jayhawks (10-1) beat the host Buckeyes (9-2) for the third time in little more than a year. Kansas won 64-62 in last season's NCAA semifinals. The Jayhawks, who had yet to play a true road game, held Ohio State without a field goal for more than 10 minutes of the second half.

NO. 12 MISSOURI 82, NO. 10 ILLINOIS 73: Laurence Bowers had 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Tigers (10-1) to their fourth straight win over the Illini (12-1) in the annual Braggin' Rights game in St. Louis.

NO. 11 CINCY 68, WRIGHT ST. 58: JaQuon Parker scored 16 of his 21 in the second half, and the host Bearcats overcame another poor start to improve to 12-0 for the eighth time in school history and the second time in three seasons.

NO. 13 MINN. 75, LAFAYETTE 50: Starting guard Joe Coleman had 12 points and reserves scored 42 to lead the host Gophers (12-1) to their eighth straight win.

NO. 15 G'TOWN 65, AMERICAN 48: Otto Porter had 16 points and 13 rebounds as the host Hoyas (10-1) earned their ninth straight win over their D.C. neighbor.

S. DAKOTA ST. 70, NO. 16 NEW MEXICO 65: Nate Wolters had 28 points and seven assists as the Jackrabbits held off the host Lobos (12-1), who made just 7 of 12 free throws in the final minutes to help thwart their comeback.

NO. 18 San Diego St. 80, SAN FRANCISCO 58: Chase Tapley made six 3-pointers on his way to a career-high 33 points for the Aztecs (10-1) in the first round of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu. San Diego State won its 10th straight game since a season-opening loss to Syracuse.

NO. 19 BUTLER 75, EVANSVILLE 67: Rotnei Clarke and Andrew Smith scored 20 each for the host Bulldogs (9-2), who won their sixth straight and completed a sweep of the five Indiana schools they play this season in nonconference action.

NO. 20 MICH. ST. 67, TEXAS 56: Derrick Nix had 25 points and 11 rebounds and shot 7-of-10 from the field and 11-of-13 at the free-throw line for the host Spartans (11-2), who improved to 6-0 in December.

NO. 21 UNLV 89, CANISIUS 74: Anthony Bennett had 21 points and seven rebounds, and reserve Khem Birch scored 20 for the host Runnin' Rebels (11-1).

NO. 23 UNC 97, MCNEESE ST. 63: P.J. Hairston scored a career-high 20 for the host Tar Heels (9-3), who made 13 of 28 3-pointers and never trailed.

NO. 24 OKLA. ST. 78, TENN. TECH 42: Freshman Phil Forte scored 22 and made 6 of 11 3-pointers for the host Cowboys (10-1), who hit a season-high 11 3s.

NO. 25 N.C. ST. 92, ST. BONAVENTURE 73: C.J. Leslie scored a career-high 33 for the host Wolfpack (9-2), which shot 57 percent, never trailed and heads into its weeklong holiday break on a five-game winning streak.

Temple solves 'Cuse zone 12/22/12 [Last modified: Sunday, December 23, 2012 12:27am]

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