HOUSTON - Juan Fernandez scored 23 points and reached a career milestone, and Temple pulled away in the second half Monday to beat Rice, 77-70, in a nonleague game at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Fernandez, a senior, went into the game needing three points to reach 1,000 for his career. He got to 1,001 on a layup a little more than five minutes into the game, then kept scoring.
. Rice (7-4) had gone on a 5-0 run to start the first half and take a 37-36 lead, and Temple, which had coasted early on, suddenly found itself in an alley fight.
But after two lead changes, the visitors started to pull away again. Fernandez drove the lane and zipped a sharp pass to Anthony Lee down low, and Lee's two-handed dunk gave Temple a 53-47 lead with 13 minutes, 31 seconds remaining.
When Khalif Wyatt hit a short runner with 10:51 left, Temple had its first double-digit lead of the second half, 57-47.
Fernandez, a native of Argentina, led Temple with 23 points.
Temple was able to outrebound Rice, which also is nicknamed the Owls, 40-36. Lee had seven rebounds and Rahir Hollis-Jefferson had 10 to lead in that category.
Rice made its final charge with 1:39 remaining and cut the lead to six with a pair of free throws by Lucas Kuipers.
Temple spread the floor and chewed up just about all of the shot clock before Fernandez put up a three-pointer from the garage next door just before the clock expired. His 30-plus-footer hit nothing but net and gave Temple a commanding 71-63 lead with 54 seconds remaining. It was Fernandez's fifth three on seven attempts.
"Juan has made those shots before, so we're not going to question him whenever he steps up to the line to shoot us a three-pointer," coach Fran Dunphy said.
"They haven't been going in lately, but tonight, luckily, they did," Fernandez said. "I really like this road trip. Texas reminds me a lot of Argentina, and I certainly enjoyed that."
Rice, which shot 11 of 20 from the free-throw line, cut the lead to 73-68 with 42 seconds remaining. Rice immediately went into full court pressure and fouled Ramone Moore. Moore, who ended with 15, was able to hit both ends of the one-and-one.
Rice's Tamir Jackson hit two free throws with 30 seconds left to cut the Temple lead to 75-70 and once again went into full-court pressure. Again it was Moore who was fouled, and he hit one of two free throws to give his team a 76-70 lead with 21 seconds left. Another Rice miss forced the hosts to foul Hollis-Jefferson, who hit one of two.
"Any win is a great win, especially a win on the road, Dunphy said. "But we have to buckle down and be a better basketball team."