PHILADELPHIA, FEB. 7 -- Fans at McGonigle Hall received a treat tonight. The national anthem was performed in sign language, to a saxophone accompaniment, by The Deaf Community Choir.

The only thing that might have matched it for uniqueness would have been a George Washington victory over Temple, but that did not happen.

Although there were high expectations from the Colonials, who had won four in a row, the Owls defeated them for the 18th straight time, 77-60. The game was not as close as the score.

Despite unaccustomed 30-percent shooting in the first half, Temple built a 29-22 lead, because George Washington was even worse, at 27 percent. The Owls quickly expanded their margin to 43-26 in the second half, led 62-40 and waited through interminable fouls for the eventual celebration.

All-American guard Mark Macon, as usual, led the Owls with 33 points. He made seven of nine shots in the second half after hitting only three of 10 in the first 20 minutes.

When Temple (15-6, 9-3 in the Atlantic 10) won in Washington four weeks ago, 70-61, George Washington did not have a player in double figures. The Colonials barely accomplished that tonight, as Rodney Patterson had 11 points and Ellis McKennie 10.

George Washington (13-8, 7-6) was hampered because flu limited high scorer Sonni Holland to four points on two of eight shots. Donald Hodge, Temple's 7-foot center out of Coolidge High in Washington, served Holland notice that it would be a tough night when he blocked Holland's first shot with so much force it landed beyond the sideline.

"I don't know how much difference it would have made if he {Holland} had been 100 percent healthy," said Colonials Coach Mike Jarvis. "That block certainly didn't help his outlook, either. But to beat Temple, we have to shoot better than we did. If you don't make open shots, you won't win and we certainly weren't making many."

In the first half, the Colonials made four of 12 from three-point range. Incredibly, they were even worse on two-point tries, a measly five for 21. Additionally, they did not shoot a free throw in the first half; Temple made 10 of 15. When the Colonials tried to work inside, their shots were blocked; at the other end, the Owls were being hacked.

"It's a little disturbing in the sense I was expecting Temple to play even better," Jarvis said. "I know they can play better and I know we can play a lot better. Temple is one of the best defensive teams in the country and I have to compliment them, because they did what they wanted to do and we didn't. But we have to learn to be more patient and make their defense work harder."

Temple was much too quick for the visitors and many baskets came on fast breaks, 6-5 Macon even putting in two dunks to round off a performance that included five three-pointers.

"We used a different offensive set to give us a chance to spread the floor a little more," said Temple Coach John Chaney. "We need to do that, because everybody is playing man-for-man and with a one-guard offense like ours we need some new looks.

"Some of these teams have never beaten Temple {George Washington last did it in 1983}, but sooner or later a chicken gets up and knocks you out. A guy got up off the floor and knocked {Mike} Tyson out."

Temple had lost its last two games, to Rutgers and St. Joseph's, and Chaney had been taking some heat from critics.