NCAA Tournament 2013: Temple Owls Move Past NC State Behind Wyatt's Big Day

Nick LantzCorrespondent IIMarch 22, 2013

Temple's Khalif Wyatt driving past NC State's Scott Wood in the NCAA tourney.
Temple's Khalif Wyatt driving past NC State's Scott Wood in the NCAA tourney.Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Temple Owls basketball team got off to a huge lead early and was able to hold on just long enough to beat the North Carolina State Wolfpack in Round 2 of the 2013 NCAA Tournament on Friday.

Senior guard Khalif Wyatt scored 31 points to lift the Owls to a 76-72 victory. Fellow senior Jake O'Brien contributed 18 points as well, including four three-pointers.

The Owls, the No. 9 seed in the East region, got it going early and led for all but the first three minutes of the game. Though the team did not match the size of N.C. State, they made up for it by hitting from outside and getting to the foul line often.

Despite a courageous second-half comeback by the eighth-seeded Wolfpack, Wyatt was able to hit all six of his free-throw attempts in the final 33 seconds to secure the upset.

At halftime Fran Dunphy's squad held an impressive 16-point lead over the Wolfpack after O'Brien hit a clutch three-pointer with 21 seconds remaining in the half.

Surprisingly the Wolfpack actually shot better (58 percent) than the Owls (48 percent) in the game. However, the big difference in this one was the turnover margin, as TU was able to force 13 turnovers while losing the ball only five times.

The win was yet another victory by an Atlantic 10 team. All five members of the conference in this year's tournament won in the round of 64.

The Wolfpack had their way down low and held a strong advantage in the rebounding department grabbing 12 more boards than the Owls.

C.J. Leslie scored 20 points, and Richard Howell contributed 14 points and 15 rebounds for Mark Gottfried's crew. Lorenzo Brown also added 22 points and nine assists for the Wolfpack.

The Owls did their best to control a slow pace in the game by getting to the free-throw line frequently, garnering a whopping 33 attempts. Though the team struggled from the line (64 percent), Wyatt hit 12 of his 14 free-throw attempts.

Wyatt, the Atlantic 10 leading scorer during the regular season, played very well despite dealing with a finger injury. Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson also chipped in 12 points and 2 blocks for the cherry and white.

The win was the second tournament victory for Dunphy's Owls in the past three seasons. The Owls move on to play the top-seeded Indiana Hoosiers on Sunday, March 24.