Clark scores 6 straight as Owls advance to Atlantic 10 semifinals
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP)—Chris Clark scored six straight points and Temple tallied the final 11 points in an 84-75 victory over La Salle in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament on Thursday night.
Dionte Christmas had a game-high 29 points and Mark Tyndale and Sergio Olmos added 14 apiece as the second-seeded Owls (19-12) advanced to their 23rd conference semifinal despite squandering a 14-point second-half lead.
Temple, which has won a season-high five straight games, will play sixth-seeded Charlotte, which rallied in the second half to beat third-seeded Massachusetts 69-65.
Rodney Green had 20 points to lead seventh-seeded La Salle, which finished its season at 15-17. Darnell Harris added 18 points and Yves Mekongo Mbala had 16 for the Explorers, who were routed by Temple last weekend.
This one turned into a great game.
The Owls, who also got 10 rebounds from Tyndale, seemed to be in control after Christmas hit two free throws for a 73-67 lead with 4:37 to play.
However, Harris hit two free throws and a 3-pointer to start and end an 8-0 run that gave La Salle a 75-73 lead.
Olmos scored on a pick-and-roll layup to tie the game, but he failed to convert the three-point play after being fouled with 1:57 to go.
Harris then missed a 3-pointer at the other end and Clark was fouled going for the rebound. He converted both shots to put Temple ahead 77-75.
After Yves Mekongo Mbala was called for walking, Clark hit a 3-pointer that got a very friendly bounce on the rim, going up in the air and coming back down in the basket.
Clark made 1 of 2 free throws after Mekongo Mbala aired a 3-pointer and Christmas converted two more free throws after Harris missed another 3-pointer.
Temple scored the first eight points and 11 of 13 in getting a quick jump on La Salle. The Owls led by eight at the half, increased the margin to 14 early in the second half and were leading 59-48 after a free throw by Christmas with 12:38 to play.
La Salle, which struggled to beat Duquesne in the first round on Wednesday night, went on a 15-2 spurt that featured 3-pointers by Harris, Mekongo Mbala and Ruben Guillandeaux and six points by Green.
There were five more lead changes down the stretch with Clark providing the final one.