In a three-way tie for second place in the Atlantic 10, Temple looks to continue its push for the top spot. Facing a struggling St. Bonaventure team could provide the Owls with that opportunity.
Temple looks to win its 12th straight over the Bonnies on Wednesday night when the teams meet at Reilly Center.
After falling at Richmond 71-54 on Feb. 6, the 21st-ranked Owls (20-5, 8-2) will try to keep pressure on the conference-leading Spiders, who will try to win their seventh straight Wednesday against Fordham.
Temple, which is a half-game back along with Charlotte and Xavier, will look to build on its record-setting effort in Saturday’s 78-56 victory over Rhode Island.
Led by sophomore center Micheal Eric’s 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting, the Owls shot a program-best 68.6 percent from the field while posting their highest point total since a 79-65 win over St. Joseph’s on March 12.
Led by six assists from sophomore guard Juan Fernandez, who missed the loss to Richmond with a head injury, Temple matched a season-high with 23 on Saturday while recording its third straight 20-win season.
“I think we moved the ball very quickly and got their defense off-balance,” senior guard Ryan Brooks said after scoring 18 points.
Brooks, scoring a team-high 15.1 points per game, is averaging 10.3 on 63.6 percent shooting in three career games versus St. Bonaventure. In the teams’ last meeting, Brooks had 12 points while Lavoy Allen scored 20 with 18 rebounds in a 70-56 home win Feb. 22.
Allen, a junior, had his string of four straight double-doubles snapped Saturday with 17 points and seven rebounds. He is one of three players in the A-10 averaging 10 or more points and 10 or more rebounds.
Allen, trying to become the first Owls player since Ollie Johnson in 1970-71 to average a double-double in a season, will likely be matched up with St. Bonaventure’s Andrew Nicholson.
The Bonnies sophomore, who leads the conference in field-goal percentage (59.1) and is sixth with 16.5 points per game, scored 17 with seven rebounds in Saturday’s 68-49 loss to Richmond but had three points in the final 20 minutes.
St. Bonaventure (10-13, 3-7), which has dropped five of six, led the Spiders by a point at halftime but was outscored 13-0 to open the second half.
“We came out in the second half and we turned the ball over. We didn’t defend and we had 10 turnovers in the second half to only two assists,” coach Mark Schmidt told the school’s official Web site after his team shot a season-worst 32.2 percent from the field.
“We let our offense affect our defense, and we missed a few chippies early on. I think that affected us. We’ve got to be stronger mentally to be able to overcome that.”
The Bonnies are second in the A-10 in shooting at 46.1 percent and will be facing a Temple team that leads the conference in scoring defense (57.5) and field-goal defense at 38.3 percent.
The Owls lead the series 49-6 and haven’t lost since falling 93-74 at St. Bonaventure on Jan. 16, 2002.