Temple continued its surge during coach John Chaney's suspension, using its intimidating defense to beat Dayton, 61-51, last night and advance to the Atlantic 10 tournament semifinals in Cincinnati.
The four teams that got first-round byes won their games yesterday. Temple (16-12) will play George Washington, the conference's only 20-win team, in one semifinal, while Xavier faces Saint Joseph's in the other.
The Owls have gone 3-1 without Chaney, who was suspended after he ordered Nehemiah Ingram -- a reserve he called "a goon" -- to get rough in a Feb. 22 game against Saint Joseph's. Ingram had a vicious foul on Saint Joseph's senior forward John Bryant that broke his arm.
Chaney didn't accompany the team to Cincinnati for the tournament. Dayton fans screamed "Goon!" when Ingram got into the game briefly in the second half yesterday, fouled twice, and missed his only shot.
Mardy Collins scored 17 points for Temple, which shot only 32.6 percent from the field. Norman Plummer scored 15 to lead the Flyers, who shot 34.5 percent and went more than 11 minutes without scoring in the first half.
Thousands of Flyers fans made the one-hour drive to give their team a home-court advantage, but the Flyers missed 15 of their first 18 shots.
The Owls' win came two days after the team voted not to attend the A-10's awards banquet after the conference barred Ingram from attending.
"I thought there could be a safety issue," conference commissioner Linda Bruno said. "That kind of setting, with kids milling around . . . I was concerned that someone might say something to him. I wasn't pointing fingers."
Saint Joseph's 63, Richmond 51 -- Junior Dave Mallon scored a career-high 17 points as the Hawks advanced to the semifinals.
Conference co-Player of the Year Pat Carroll added 16 points for Saint Joseph's (18-10), which has the tournament's top seed and have won seven of its last eight games. Andres Sandoval and Jermaine Bucknor each scored 11 points to lead the Spiders (14-15), who had the third-worst record in the tournament field.
Xavier 83, La Salle 70 -- Stanley Burrell and Justin Cage led a balanced attack with 16 points apiece, helping the Musketeers roll into the semifinals. Xavier (17-11) got a good start on its attempt to use the tournament as a springboard.
The Musketeers won it last year, knocking off unbeaten Saint Joseph's along the way, and made it to the final eight in the NCAA Tournament.
La Salle (10-19) had Steven Smith, the conference's leading scorer and co-Player of the Year, back from an eye injury suffered in a first-round win over Massachusetts. He went only 6 of 20 from the field.
George Washington 79, Fordham 63 -- Pops Mensah-Bonsu scored 21 points and Mike Hall added 18, sending the Colonials into the semifinals.
George Washington (20-7) became the first A-10 team with 20 victories this season. The tournament most likely will produce the conference's only representative in the NCAA Tournament.