Fernandez's basket gives Temple 66-64 win over PSU
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - March 17, 2011 (WPVI) -- Don't call him "one-and-Dunphy" anymore.
Juan Fernandez sank an off-balance 18-footer with less than a second to play to hand Temple a wild 66-64 victory over Penn State and end coach Fran Dunphy's NCAA tournament record 11-game losing streak.
"It might have been our time, that's all," Dunphy said. "Just our time."
And a long time coming for one of college basketball's most respected coaches, whose team advanced to a third-round matchup Saturday against the West's No. 2 seed, San Diego State.
Fernandez, double-teamed as time was running out, forced up the winning shot off his right foot while fading to his left just inside the 3-point line. The clock read 0.4 seconds as the ball went through the net.
In the timeout that preceded the shot, Temple's Khalif Wyatt had some advice for his coach: Put the ball in Fernandez's hands and let him determine the outcome.
"I was thinking about shooting a jump shot but I killed my dribble and (Tim) Frazier was right there," Fernandez said. "For some reason he jumped over to my right and that gave me the space to go left."
It's not the kind of shot anyone practices, Fernandez said.
"Like coach said," he said, "it was our time."
Frazier gave Fernandez all the credit.
"He drove, picked up the ball," Frazier said. "I closed out high end so he wouldn't be able to shoot over me. (He) made a great move, pivoted a couple of times and then stepped through. It was a great shot."
In their 92nd meeting, neither team had led by more than four points and there were 10 lead changes in an intense second half in the West regional. Talor Battle's 3-pointer from far behind the arc for Penn State tied it at 64-64 with 12.2 seconds to go.
"That's what he's done his whole career," coach Ed DeChellis said. "He is just a great kid, a very competitive person."
Battle's basket would have been an NBA 3-pointer with a few feet to spare.
"Right when I shot, it felt so good," Battle said. "I saw Reggie Miller and them going nuts, so I figured I was pretty far when I shot."
It was an ever-so-brief moment of elation for the Penn State star in his last college game.
"I heard Juan Fernandez with a two-point shot," he said, "and I was just crushed."
Fernandez and Ramone Moore scored 23 points each for the seventh-seeded Owls (26-7). Battle scored 23 for the 10th-seeded Nittany Lions (19-15) in their first NCAA tournament appearance in a decade.
Dunphy's teams, first at Penn and the last three at Temple, had lost a tournament record 11 straight games before successfully escaping Thursday's thriller. Dunphy entered the game 1-12 in NCAA tournament play, his lone victory Penn's first-round upset of Nebraska in 1994.
"I probably think about it less than others do," he said, "but you think about it. I would be lying if I said I didn't. But I'm so thrilled for these kids and so thrilled to be in the tournament. We've had a nice run - this particular group, four straight years of going to the NCAA tournament is pretty special."
He said he was "happy that maybe I won't get that question quite as often."
"But that's the life we lead," Dunphy added. "There's nothing much you can do about it. People will recognize what the record is, but I've got to tell you that's not what drives me. "
Fernandez, whose two free throws with 28 seconds left put Temple ahead 64-61, scored 17 of his season-high 23 in the first half, when the Owls rallied from an early nine-point deficit to take a 35-33 halftime lead.
The junior from Argentina, who missed playing time with a concussion in late January, was coming off one of his worst games of the season. He made 3 of 17 shots and 1 of 7 3-pointers and scored just seven points in Temple's 58-54 loss to Richmond in the Atlantic 10 championship game.
Moore scored 17 of his 23 in the second half. His 15-footer put the Owls ahead 62-61 with 1:10 to go and set up the wild finish.
On Penn State's subsequent possession, Battle drove the lane but his shot was blocked by Rahlir Jefferson, and Temple came away with the ball.
Battle, the second-leading scorer in the Big Ten, made three of his four 3-pointers to lead the Nittany Lions to a 20-11 lead. In his final game with Penn State, he finished 9 of 21 shooting, 5 of 11 on 3-pointers.
The Nittany Lions lost starting forward Jeff Brooks barely a minute into the second half with a dislocated right shoulder, the same injury that sidelined him for 10 days earlier this season.
Forward Scootie Randall was in the Temple starting lineup after missing the last seven games with an injured right foot but played just six scoreless minutes.
Fernandez, who averages 10.7 points per game, made 6 of 7 shots, including 2 of 3 3s, in his 17-point first half.
The Owls scored more points in the first half than Penn State allowed in its 36-33 victory over Wisconsin three games earlier in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament.
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