One Atlantic 10 opponent didn’t even prepare for Ramone Moore earlier this season. There’s no chance that will happen again the way the Temple guard has been playing.
Moore and the 20th-ranked Owls look to win their fourth straight and move into a first-place tie in the A-10 standings Wednesday when they host Dayton.
Moore averaged 5.2 points in his first 21 games this season but has led Temple (22-5, 10-2) in scoring in five of the last six. Since scoring 17 points in his first career start - a 71-54 loss at Richmond on Feb. 6 - Moore has averaged 18.0 as the Owls have won three straight to stay within a half-game of the No. 23 Spiders for the conference lead.
Temple shares second place with Xavier, which also could move into a tie atop the league Wednesday with a victory at Saint Louis. Richmond doesn’t play again until visiting Xavier on Sunday.
Moore scored a career-high 24 points Saturday, including a game-tying layup with 1.5 seconds left in regulation in a 75-67 overtime win at St. Joseph’s.
“The last time we played them, he wasn’t even in the scouting report,” Hawks coach Phil Martelli said.
Moore, a sophomore, will face the Flyers (18-8, 7-5) for the first time. He missed the Owls’ 70-65 loss at Dayton on Feb. 28 due to academic issues that sidelined him for most of the second half of last season. It was Temple’s third straight loss to Dayton.
“Each game I’m gaining confidence,” said Moore, shooting 55.7 percent from the field in the last six games. “I’ve been playing well the last couple of weeks.”
Teammate Lavoy Allen has been a consistent force down low all season. The junior forward, third in the A-10 in rebounding with 10.3 per game, is one of three players in the conference averaging a double-double.
Allen posted his 25th career double-double Saturday with 16 points and 10 boards. He needs 16 rebounds to move past Granger Hall (781) for ninth place all-time at Temple.
While the Owls will try to improve upon their 6-0 home record in A-10 play, Dayton looks to avoid its fifth loss in six road games.
Coach Brian Gregory is seeking more consistent play from his upperclassmen, particularly after senior guards London Warren and Rob Lowery committed 10 of the Flyers’ 21 turnovers in Sunday’s 73-71 loss at Duquesne.
“We have some seniors on the team that need to play better,” Gregory told the school’s official Web site. “We’re coming down the home stretch of the season and their careers and they need to play better.”
Sunday marked Dayton’s fourth consecutive loss when senior guard Marcus Johnson fails to score in double figures. The Flyers have won five straight when he scores at least 10.
Winning close games has been a challenge for Dayton, which has lost six straight games decided by five points or fewer. The Flyers were 11-1 in those games in 2008-09.
Leading scorer Chris Wright is averaging 18.3 points on 63.3 percent shooting in his last four games, but he’s facing a Temple defense allowing conference lows of 57.8 points per game and 38.2 percent shooting.
Wright had 20 points in last season’s victory over Temple.
Owls leading scorer Ryan Brooks is averaging 16.0 points in the last two games versus Dayton.
Temple leads the all-time series 14-11.
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