When the game began, Temple's Mark Tyndale had been probably the hottest offensive basketball player in the city.

After it was over - after the 92-76 tally that did not do justice to how badly St. Joseph's dismantled the Owls - Tyndale sat in a crowded visitor's locker room at the Palestra and paid homage to his team's greatest rival.

"There's something about St. Joe's, man," Tyndale said. "They just play great against Temple University. They come to play, and Temple does not come to play. They've beaten us, I think, nine out of the last 10 times, something like that. They're playing great ball in the league. I don't think anybody expected them to play so well, by being so young. Take your hat off to St. Joe's."

Tyndale did not mince words: "We played absolutely no defense. As a team, individually - myself. They played great, [Pat] Calathes played great. They made shots. We missed shots. . . . That was the game."

The makes and misses added up to a 30-point Hawks lead before the second half had hit its midway point, and 27 points by Calathes in 36 minutes.

Tyndale knew his 18 points meant nothing. In his previous seven games, Tyndale had averaged 23.9 points. In his last two games, he had made 24 of 37 shots, averaging 30 points. In Atlantic Ten games, just the conference games, he was averaging 20.7 points, tied with teammate Dionte Christmas for first in the league.

After scoring the game's first basket on a backdoor cut for a dunk, Tyndale did not score another basket in the first half. He took only one more shot in that half. Whoever guarded him - from Darrin Govens to Rob Ferguson - did it aggressively.

"They were tight," Tyndale said. "I wasn't as aggressive in the first half. I was just trying to get my teammates involved."

That did not include Christmas for the first five minutes. Coach Fran Dunphy sat him out that long for "a hiccup," as Dunphy called it, "as benign an issue as possible, but I thought it was time to mention it."

There was talk of a missed study hall.

"I didn't do what I was supposed to do," Christmas said.

His presence did not turn the tide. After scoring nine points against the Hawks in their first meeting, Christmas managed just 10 this time, five in each half, after scoring a season-low five points Saturday against George Washington.

After Temple lost its third consecutive game to drop to 11-15 overall and 5-8 in the A-10, Christmas said he had been pressing. "When I play bad, I get real down on myself, thinking it's my fault, it's the reason why we lost," he said.

But this time, he credited the opposition. "I come off screens, they're switching," he said. "I get the ball, they double me."

Contact staff writer Mike Jensen at 215-854-4489 or mjensen@phillynews.com.