John Chaney didn't like the way his team looked Wednesday night, so he made a change -- a big change.
The man whose coaching trademark has become the matchup zone went to a man-to-man defense and it turned some first-half trouble into a 59-48 victory over Wake Forest in the championship game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
"We've only had about two days of practice with the zone and even in our exhibition games we went with the man-to-man for the whole game," said the 66-year-old Chaney, who is starting his 17th season at Temple. "It wasn't just the defense, though, we also stopped with the turnovers."
The change on both ends of the floor helped the Owls (2-0) overcome a 16-point deficit and take over a game in which neither team had a field goal over the final six minutes.
"At this early stage of the season winning this tournament shows me a lot," Chaney said. "It usually takes me to January to know my team but I liked the way this team scrapped and fought hard."
Rasheed Brokenborough had 16 points to lead Temple, which held the Demon Deacons (1-1) to four points over an 8-minute span in the second half. The Owls took a 50-41 lead with 6:43 to play on Quincy Wadley's driving jumper, the Owls' final field goal of the game at Madison Square Garden.
Wake Forest got back within 50-46 with 6:01 left on a low post move by Rafael Vidauretta, its last basket of the game. Temple went 9-of-12 from the foul line to seal it, while the Demon Deacons went scoreless over the game's final 31/2 minutes.
| Wake Forest forward Craig Dawson (right) hits a 3-pointer over Temple's KeatoSanders. (AP) |
"They played 40 minutes and we played 20 and give them credit for that," Wake Forest coach Dave Odom said. "They play to their strengths and don't get rattled. That lead in the first half was going in their spider's web, fool's gold if you will. We started thinking we're as good as Temple and we're not. We've got a long way t go."
Mark Karcher and Lynn Greer each had 10 points for Temple, which trailed 30-14 with 4:08 left in the first half.
Robert O'Kelley, who had 24 points in Wake Forest's opening-round victory over Illinois, had 10 points against Temple.
Temple closed the first half with a 10-2 run to get within 32-24 and its defense early in the second half let the Owls climb back in it. They took their first lead at 42-39 with 9:10 left on a 3-pointer by Wadley. It was Temple's fourth 3-pointer in 15 attempts, a far cry from the opening-round win over Georgetown when Wadley made his first five 3s and finished 5-for-6 from beyond the arc.
"We even shocked Coach with how good we played defense," Brokenborough said. "We surprise a lot of people when we play man, especially when we play it that good."
Chaney was more pleased about the reduction in turnovers. The Owls had 16 in the opening-round win over Georgetown and had eight in the first half against Wake Forest.
"I was really happy we only had four turnovers in the second half," Chaney said. "Turnovers are so uncharacteristic of us but we stopped making them and then held them down so we could catch up."
Odom pointed out the irony in having more trouble with Temple's man-to-man than zone defense.
"We did very well against the zone and got them to go to the man-to-man and then played poorly against it," he said. "In the second half we came out as a team and a coaching staff and sat on our hands. It was nine minutes before we realized we could lose the game. We lost our will. That's not to say they didn't try we just have to be tougher and we have to demand that of them."
In the third-place game, Illinois beat Georgetown 65-50 behind the 19 points of freshman guard Cory Bradford.
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