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Christmas's Magic Helps Temple Pull Off Upset of Tennessee

Dionte Christmas made 6 of 7 three-pointers in the second half and finished with 35 points as Temple knocked off eighth-ranked Tennessee.
Dionte Christmas made 6 of 7 three-pointers in the second half and finished with 35 points as Temple knocked off eighth-ranked Tennessee. (H. Rumph Jr. -- Associated Press)
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Associated Press
Sunday, December 14, 2008

Temple's students dressed for an upset, wearing Santa Claus hats and white beards. Some even held signs that read "Merry Christmas!"

Dionte Christmas, the reason for all the marketing puns, scored a season-high 35 points, including three straight three-pointers during a game-changing stretch that helped Temple upset No. 8 Tennessee, 88-72, yesterday in Philadelphia.

Owls fans stormed the court in a celebration for Coach Fran Dunphy's biggest win in three seasons.

"We played about as good as we could play," Dunphy said. "Everything just came together."

Christmas delivered in a sensational second half, when he made 6 of 7 three-pointers for the Owls (5-3). He made 10 baskets in the second half.

"I didn't think I'd get the looks I got today," Christmas said. "I usually don't get that many good looks. Fortunately, I was knocking them down."

Tennessee (6-2) never led, but cut its deficit to four midway through the second half. Christmas then hit three three-pointers that stretched the lead to 15 points.

Tyler Smith led the Volunteers with 17 points, and Bobby Maze had 15.

ยท NORTH CAROLINA 100, ORAL ROBERTS 84: Tyler Hansbrough had 26 points and nine rebounds to help the top-ranked Tar Heels (9-0) beat the visiting Golden Eagles (2-7).

Deon Thompson added 22 points for North Carolina, which had no trouble in its first game following a 10-day exam break. The Tar Heels shot 59 percent to take a 20-point halftime lead and were never seriously threatened.


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