Yesterday's Liacouras Center encounter with Mid-American Conference also-ran Eastern Michigan won't go down as one of Temple's more memorable efforts - although Owls guard Mark Tyndale will always have this one in his personal memory bank.
"When you're in the gym by yourself, I talk to myself - I know other guys do - I just act like there's five seconds left and I hit the shot and I start running around the gym," Tyndale said. "I do stuff like that. I don't know if I'm crazy or not."
Today, Tyndale was able to jump around for real. His three-pointer with 1.2 seconds remaining gave Temple a 58-55 victory over Eastern Michigan.
"Everybody in the gym probably thought I was going to the basket," said Tyndale, who, on Temple's previous possession, had driven and was called for a charge. "I probably surprised everybody with that jump shot."
The Owls were 121/2-point favorites, but they have needed last-second heroics to pull out both of this season's home games against MAC opponents. Tyndale's decisions were crucial both times. The senior passed to Chris Clark for the winning three-pointer in a 90-88 win over Ohio on Nov. 29.
"I let my teammates down twice, I think, and my last two times I think I came through," Tyndale said, referring to games earlier this season when he didn't convert last-possession opportunities.
Eastern Michigan (4-5) tied the game with 13.2 seconds left when Eagles guard Carlos Medlock capitalized on a 6-inch height advantage over Clark and scored inside. After an EMU time-out, Tyndale took the ball upcourt and started toward the lane, except Medlock cut off Tyndale's progress with about five seconds left.
Tyndale said he looked for top Owls scorer Dionte Christmas and Clark on the wings, but felt both were covered. He dribbled several steps to his left and pulled back for the winning jumper.
"He just rose up and made a big-time shot," Owls coach Fran Dunphy said.
Tyndale played in obvious pain for much of the second half.
"I got elbowed in my pinky," Tyndale said. "It's been bothering me. It happened in practice, and it just got hit very bad in the game. It felt like it broke."
The Owls are 6-5, getting above .500 for the first time since this same 11-game mark last season. To stay above .500 going into Atlantic Ten play, Temple will have to score an upset over either Florida (Friday in Miami) or Duke (Jan. 9 at the Wachovia Center).
Dunphy admitted to again being less than thrilled with Temple's defense after Eastern Michigan made nine of its first 18 three-point attempts. All along, this game felt as if it would be determined by the team that could stay hot from long range. As it turned out, Christmas (22 points) was hottest from long range, making 6 of 10.
Christmas praised freshman forward Lavoy Allen, talking about how "something good usually happens when he gets his hands on the ball. If he wasn't here, I don't know where we'd be right now."
For the third game in a row, Temple trailed at halftime.
"I just think we were stagnant, standing around, not moving . . . ," Christmas said. "Coach told us we had to move around more. We were looking kind of dead out there in the first half."
If Tyndale hadn't come through, that may have been the lasting memory here.
Instead . . .
"Dionte told me before I went out there that I was going to make the shot," Tyndale said.