TOLEDO, Ohio - Go small ball or go home. Maybe that will become the mantra for the Temple Owls.

That's because the Owls are starting to find their groove without 6-foot-11 center Micheal Eric, who has a right kneecap injury.

Playing long stretches with four-guard lineups, Temple posted its second consecutive blowout victory. This time, the Owls defeated the Toledo Rockets, 77-58, Wednesday night at Savage Arena.

Temple improved to 5-2 with the 14th victory in its last 15 games against Mid-American Conference teams. The lone loss during that stretch came at Bowling Green on Nov. 27, the first game without Eric. Since then, the Owls have excelled.

That wasn't a good thing for the Rockets (6-2), whose six-game winning streak was snapped. They also dropped to 0-4 all-time against Temple.

Owls freshman guard Will Cummings started in place of Khalif Wyatt. The junior guard was benched for the first 9 minutes, 13 seconds of the game for showing up late for a film study.

But Temple didn't need Wyatt in this blowout.

Reserve guard Aaron Brown finished with a game-high 19 points on 5-for-8 three-point shooting. Senior guard Juan Fernandez (13 points) and Wyatt (11 points) were the Owls' other double-digit scorers. Redshirt freshman forward Anthony Lee (nine points, nine rebounds, four blocks), junior forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson (nine points, seven rebounds, four assists), senior guard Ramone Moore (eight points, seven assists), and Cummings (six points, five rebounds) all contributed in Temple's balanced attack.

The Owls had a commanding 18-point lead (30-12) on Wyatt's three-pointer with 8:55 to go before intermission.

But the Rockets got back into the game, thanks in large part to the Owls' 15 first-half turnovers. Rian Pearson's layup capped Toledo's 12-0 run to close the gap to 30-24 with 4:40 left in the half.

Temple led by as many as 23 points (73-50) late in the game.

Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 215-854-2939, kpompey@phillynews.com,
or @pompeysgridlock on Twitter. Read his blog, "Owls Inq,"