Three-time defending Atlantic-10 champion Temple continues to roll due to impressive efforts on both sides of the court.
Looking to start 4-0 in conference play in back-to-back seasons, the 19th-ranked Owls will try for a fifth straight win over Duquesne as they travel to the A.J. Palumbo Center on Saturday.
Temple (12-3, 3-0) defeated St. Bonaventure 83-55 on Wednesday night as all five starters scored in double figures - including Khalif Wyatt, who started in place of injured point guard Juan Fernandez for the second consecutive game.
“I felt a lot more comfortable today than Sunday making my first start,” said Wyatt, who recorded career highs with 15 points and six assists after scoring seven points without an assist in a 57-53 win over Saint Louis. “My teammates encouraged me all week to be prepared and I came out more comfortable. You never know when they’re going to need you to step up.”
Ramone Moore, leading the team with 15.3 points per game, scored 19 as Temple registered its second-highest scoring output of the season. He scored 15 on 5 of 7 shooting in a 76-60 win over Duquesne on Feb. 3.
The Owls are limiting teams to a conference-low 58.4 points per game and just 53.0 points in their 3-0 conference start.
“Their defense carries them but when they combine it with the way the shot, you see why they’re No. 19 in the country,” Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt said. “When they’re shooting like that, they’re really tough.”
Fernandez suffered a bone bruise on his left knee Jan. 7 in practice and his status for Saturday is unknown. He averaged 17.5 points in his last two games prior to getting hurt.
Since losing both meetings during the 1994-95 season, the Owls have taken 15 of 17 from the Dukes - outscoring them by an average of 19.0 points in the victories.
It’s been a different story on the road, though, as Temple has alternated wins and losses against Duquesne (10-5, 2-0) in the last five matchups, with the last four decided by seven or fewer points.
“Duquesne is a very good team, they had another real good win (Wednesday),” said Temple coach Fran Dunphy. “It will be a tough test for us Saturday”
The Dukes are hoping to increase their season-best winning streak to six games following a 67-45 win over the Billikens, and are on the verge of matching the school’s best start in conference play.
The 45 points surrendered were the fewest during a conference game since a 42-40 loss at George Washington on Dec. 12, 1981.
Duquesne leads the Atlantic-10 with 80.9 points per game and has outscored its opponents by 20.0 points during its five-game run - its longest in three years.
Bill Clark is averaging a team-best 16.6 points but was held to a season low-tying five in the win.
The Dukes are shooting 43.1 percent from 3-point range in their last three contests, but could struggle from long distance against the Owls, who are holding teams to 31.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Temple’s three losses have come by a combined 14 points. Duquesne is 1-27 in its last 28 games versus ranked programs.