Coming off a milestone victory, Temple coach John Chaney hopes to lead his Owls to an upset win over No. 18 UCLA as the teams play for a spot in next week’s Preseason NIT semifinals.
Chaney won his 500th game at Temple when the Owls (1-0) beat Army 69-37 in a first-round NIT game Tuesday night. It was also the 725th win overall for Chaney, moving him past former DePaul coach Ray Meyer for 14th place on the all-time list.
“I think this could mean a lot of things,” Chaney said jokingly. “Maybe I’ve been here too long. But I think there are a lot of memories coming off that floor tonight.”
Senior Mardy Collins scored 18 points to lead the Owls. After a slow start, Temple built a 38-12 in the first half and the Black Knights didn’t get closer than 22 points the rest of the way.
Temple, which led the nation in fewest turnovers per game last season (9.2), continued that trend in the season opener, giving the ball away just four times while forcing 21 turnovers.
“Coach just told us that we’ve got to set the tone with our defense,” Collins said. “We can get our offense going by forcing turnovers.”
Temple has played in the Preseason NIT five times, losing to Duke 63-60 in the 2000 championship game.
UCLA won its first-round game 83-70 over New Mexico State on Tuesday, with three freshmen getting significant playing time.
“God, we are young,” said UCLA coach Ben Howland, who used 10 players in the victory. “I don’t remember ever playing a game this early that counted. This is early in the season and we’re young.”
The Bruins (1-0) never trailed and got a career-high 23 points from sophomore Arron Afflalo and 18 from sophomore Jordan Farmar, two of the Bruins’ older players.
Senior Cedric Bozeman scored 13 for UCLA in his first game back after missing all of last season with a knee injury.
Freshman Luc Richard Mbah a Moute of Cameroon started and led the Bruins with eight rebounds before fouling out in the final minute. Freshmen Darren Collison and Michael Roll also saw action.
“They were a little jittery,” Farmar said of the freshmen. “That’s one thing I told them, there’s going to be ups and downs. There was for me.”
UCLA won its third straight season opener under Howland. The Bruins have played in the Preseason NIT four times, but have advanced past the second round only once, in 1992, when they finished third.
Temple and UCLA have met just four times, with each winning twice. Temple won the last meeting 81-76 on Dec. 3, 1987, at Pauley Pavilion.
The winner of this game faces either No. 12 Memphis or No. 15 Alabama in the semifinals Nov. 23 at Madison Square Garden.