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Spiders knock off three-time defending Atlantic 10 champion Owls

By Tom Canavan
Associated Press
Saturday, March 12, 2011; 6:08 PM

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Kevin Anderson scored 22 points and Richmond beat three-time defending champions Temple 58-54 in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament on Saturday.

Justin Harper added 18 points and nine rebounds as the third-seeded Spiders (26-7) avenged a loss to the No. 24 ranked Owls (25-7) in last year's title game and a 20-point loss earlier this season.

Khalif Wyatt had 15 points and Lavoy Allen added 12 points and 10 rebounds for second-seeded Temple, which had a string of 10 tournament victories at Boardwalk Hall snapped.

Juan Fernandez, the most outstanding player in last year's tournament, had a miserable day, shooting 3 of 17 from the field and missing a one-and-one chance with 17 seconds to play and the Owls down 57-54.

Temple did not score in the final 5 minutes after taking a 54-53 lead on a layup by Ramone Moore.

The victory sent Richmond to the conference final against ninth-seeded Dayton, which defeated 12th-seeded Saint Joseph's 64-51 in the opening semifinal.

Trailing 46-43 after Wyatt hit a 3-pointer with 12:25 to play, Richmond scored the next eight points to take a 51-46 lead, with Anderson hitting a 3-pointer and a jumper to cap the spurt.

Temple, which seemed to be on the edge of being knocked out, made one final push, scoring the next seven points.

Wyatt converted a three-point play and Moore scored on a pair of fastbreaks, putting the Owls ahead 54-53 with 5:03 to play and bringing the many Philadelphia-area fans in the crowd at this casino resort to their feet.

After a couple of fruitless possession on both sides, Harper drove the lane and tipped in his own missed shot to put the Spiders ahead 55-54 with 3:48 to play.

The next 3 minutes were all defense, with neither team scoring another point until Anderson hit both ends of a one-and-one chance with 28.5 seconds to play.

The free throws came after some controversy.

Wyatt worked the ball at the other end and got Harper off his feet on a jump-shot attempt. The A10's sixth man of the year leaned forward as he went up for his shot and Harper came crashing down on top of him.

Instead of three shots, there was no whistle. Wyatt stared in disbelief at the officials and eventually fouled Anderson, who promptly extended the lead to three points.

Once Fernandez missed his one-and-one chance, the game was all but over.

Moore had a late 3-point attempt, but all that was left was for Richmond's players to jump into each other's arms and celebrate.

Temple led 31-30 despite playing major minutes without Allen, who picked up two fouls in the opening 4:49.

The game was tied at 6 when Allen went to the bench and the Owls remarkably picked things up, hitting four 3-pointers in a 12-3 spurt that Wyatt capped with his second long shot of the run.

Allen's absence wasn't all good. Without him in the middle Harper was free to operate in the low post and Anderson had no one to offer resistance when he drove the lane.

The two combined for 23 of the Spiders' 30 first-half points, with Harper getting 12 and Anderson 11.

© 2011 The Associated Press