Temple Takes Down 20 Xavier, Tens of Students on Hand to Celebrate

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Like me, you're probably surprised to see three Atlantic 10 teams in the top 25 this year. Dayton, Xavier, and Rhode Island have been impressive so far, but it looks like Xavier will likely drop out of the rankings, suffering their fourth loss of the season last night in North Philadelphia. Temple blew out the X-Men, 78-59, to open the Owls' A-10 conference play. And it got ugly.

Temple led for extended stretches of the first half, but Xavier crept back and took a few leads of their own. The Owls were up 30-27 at the half, and whatever Fran Dunphy said in the locker room put a fire under them. Temple went on a 21-7 run on the strength of six straight 3-pointers, decimating Xavier's zone. Dionte Christmas had two spectacular drives to the hoop and lead the team in scoring with 23 points, including his 1,000th with the Owls. Mark Tyndale dropped 22 of his own, hitting 7 of 13. Sergio Olmos, who looked lost against Duke less than a week ago, grabbed 11 rebounds and was a monster on the defensive end, putting up four huge blocks like he was spiking volleyballs. The crowd, small as it was, got loud for each of them.

After the game, the student section emptied onto the floor, like it did
when I was a freshman and Temple beat Michigan State, who I think was
ranked #7 at the time. Almost. Outnumbered by the security guards, the winter-break-influenced crowd was quickly dispersed. Hopefully no one was trampled, like Pepe Sanchez
was that fateful night, causing him to miss much of the season with a sprained
ankle. As a former student and season ticket holder, it's really
disappointing to see how few students are showing up to watch this
team. As commenter themajor points out, most of the students probably aren't back from winter break yet, so it was bound to be a little empty tonight. But for years, the Liacouras Center has been lacking when it comes to student-fan attendance.

The entire upper deck and even a good portion of the student
section were empty tonight, a far cry from the crowds that filled that great
building not that long ago. Attendance suffered during winter break back then too, but I don't remember it ever being this bad for a game this big. Maybe this huge win will be enough to get a few more seats filled next
home game. I know they're not as good as they were when I was there, but if you're a sports fan and go to Temple, I don't understand how you can stay away.

Congrats to Dunph on his first of many wins over a ranked opponent since taking over at Temple.

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