IT DIDN'T START OFF too pretty, nor did it end any more attractive.

But when it was all said and done, Temple still hobbled away with a 75-61 win over Charlotte last night at the Liacouras Center.

At this point of the season, in a tight Atlantic 10, a win is a win for the Owls, regardless how they get it. But that doesn't mean coach Fran Dunphy, whose team improved to 8-5 in the conference (15-12 overall) and remained tied for third place, was the least bit pleased with the way the Owls performed.

"There were some things that we did that we just can't do," Dunphy said. "We got away with it because, in all honesty, Charlotte didn't shoot the ball that well. We missed. They missed. It was just one of those games that turned out in our favor."

It was Temple's ninth victory in its last 13 outings, and the Owls owed this one to the 49ers. Charlotte (15-12, 6-7) shot 31.4 percent from the field (22-for-70).

After Temple shot 37.5 percent in the first half (9-for-24), it fared slightly better in the second, connecting on 15 of its 23 field goal attempts.

In a rare moment, with just over 4 minutes remaining in the first half, Dunphy had both his leading scorers, Dionte Christmas and Mark Tyndale, sitting with him on the bench.

"They didn't play well during that stretch and it's really the first time all year that I had enough guts to have those two guys have a seat and take a look at what's going on," Dunphy said. "I was glad that we responded that way with those guys on the floor."

Christmas still led the team with 19 points.

It was just the third time all season that Tyndale played fewer than 30 minutes. The senior co-captain, who entered the game having played 195 consecutive minutes, played 29 minutes and totaled nine points, eight rebounds and six assists.

Ryan Brooks, who scored 16 points and found his way out of a recent slump, tried to sum up Dunphy's talk with the team after the game, in a printable version.

It wasn't easy.

"He wasn't pleased at all, to say the least," Brooks said. "He was definitely disappointed in some of the sloppy decisions we made out there, and sometimes those things can carry over to the next game. We know we can't afford to do those kind of things against good teams if want to continue wining basketball games."

Temple faces Saint Joseph's Sunday night at the Palestra. The Hawks defeated the Owls by one point on Jan. 26. They made avenged one loss last night against Charlotte, which beat them in the A-10 opener by two points on Jan. 12, and are looking to do the same against the Hawks.

"We have St. Joe's on Sunday and that's all we are thinking about right now," Dunphy said. "If you win enough games, everything will take care of itself.

"I don't see any need to worry about who's ahead of you [in the standings] and all that other stuff. It doesn't matter. We have no control over that. Only thing we can control is trying to win this game Sunday, and that will be a tough task for us."

Owl notes

In a scary moment with less than 7 minutes to play in the second half, Al Shrier, special assistant to the director of athletics for Temple, was trampled by Mark Tyndale and Charlotte's Dijuan Harris as they leaped over press row in pursuit of a loose ball. Shrier, 77, was visibly shaken but was uninjured and walked off to the Al Shrier Media Room to cheers from the 4,061 fans in attendance.

"I'm fine. At least I hope so," Shrier joked afterward. "I just took a little charge, that's all. I'll see you guys Sunday." *