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Temple Falls Short In Upset Bid

Oh so close.

Score: No. 1 Indiana 58, No. 9 Temple 52

Star(s): Indiana: Victor Oladipo 16 Pts, 8 Reb. Cody Zeller 15 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast. Temple: Khalif Wyatt: 31 Pts, 3 Reb. 

Story: Indiana star Victor Oladipo sunk a dagger three with 14 seconds left to propel the Hoosiers to survive and advance to the regional sweet 16 to face Syracuse.

The first half was dominated by Temple's senior guard Khalif Wyatt, who scored 20 of the team's 29 points. Indiana got off to a hot start, taking a 19-8 lead, but Wyatt and the Owls stormed back to take a three point lead at the break. Indiana was out of sync, turning the ball over with regularity. Big man Cody Zeller, who was giving Temple a hard time down low, was in foul trouble and had to sit out the last six minutes of first half play. 

Temple still maintained the lead early in the second half with great team defense and good clock management on offense. The Owls contested many shots from Indiana's 3-point specialist Andrew Hulls, limiting him to just five points. It was a grind-it-out kind of game and it looked as if Temple was going to be able to pull off the upset as the Owls led 52-48 with 2:56 left.

However, momentum switched to the Hoosiers with Christian Watford's timely block on Anthony Lee with two minutes remaining that would have put the Owls up by six. On the ensuing possession, Khalif Wyatt timed Oladipo's crossover just right and stole the ball but was called for a foul. Indiana converted on a few free throws to take a one point lead. With 14 seconds remaining, Oladipo squared up for a wide open 3-point shot at the top of the key and buried it, putting a knife in the Owls upset bid hopes. Indiana went on a 10-0 run to end the game and won by a final score of 58-52.

Khalif Wyatt fell short of being the hero in this one, as he scored only 11 in the second half and ran out of gas in the end. Oladipo was face-guarding him most of the second half and was not allowing him open looks. No one else stepped up for the Owls, as seniors Jake O'Brien and Scootie Randall combined for five points on 0-16 shooting.

Indiana coach Tom Crean came over to the Owls huddle after the game, and was quoted as saying, "This is the toughest team we have played all season, good luck down the road to all of you guys". It was a classy move from a classy person, but nothing anyone says to these players will help them overcome the pain they feel after this loss. Temple head coach Fran Dunphy said after the game, "We competed very well. We were tough minded. But we weren't perfect. No one is. But I could not be more proud of this team". 

The Owls finished up with a record of 24-11, and with five seniors graduating, it may be a tough season next year. The Hoosiers move on to play Syracuse in Washington D.C. this Thursday.