Belmont beats Temple for first NCAA Tournament win

A few seconds were still left on the clock when Temple’s Fran Dunphy headed to midcourt for his final postgame handshake, the outcome long decided. Belmont was simply too much for his Owls.

Kevin McClain scored 29 points and led the decisive second-half run as Belmont got its first NCAA Tournament win, pulling away to an 81-70 victory Tuesday night and ending Dunphy’s career in the NCAA Tournament’s First Four in Dayton, Ohio.

The 11th-seeded Bruins (27-5) play Maryland on Thursday in the East Region.

“We belong in this tournament,” said McClain, who finished two points shy of his career high. “You can see that.”

The loss sent Temple (23-10) into a transition. Dunphy is retiring after his 13th season at Temple, where he replaced John Chaney. Dunphy previously coached 17 seasons at Penn. He will be replaced by former Owls guard Aaron McKie, an assistant on Dunphy’s staff.

“The game of basketball has given me way more than I have given to it,” said Dunphy, who was 2-8 in NCAA Tournament games with Temple.

Fairleigh Dickinson 82, Prairie View A&M 76: Eleven months ago, Knights head coach Greg Herenda was seriously ill with life-threatening blood clots. On Tuesday night, he danced on the court and hugged his players after they secured the first NCAA Tournament win in school history.

In the first First Four game in Dayton, Senior guard Darnell Edge scored a career-high 33 points and Jahlil Jenkins had 20 of his 22 points in the second half as the Knights (21-13) capped a comeback from a 13-point second-half deficit by taking down the Panthers (22-13).

“It’s overwhelming,” said Herenda, in his sixth season at the Hackensack, N.J., school. “When you coach for 35 years and you take a team to an NCAA Tournament and a team that, when I got here six years ago, we had nothing. And to build it, and then it’s here, and it’s so sad that every coach can’t experience this.”

Fairleigh Dickinson, which got the automatic tournament bid by winning the Northeast Conference tournament, won its first NCAA Tournament game in six tries. The Knights advance to play Gonzaga, the No. 1 seed in West Region, on Thursday in Salt Lake City.

Prairie View, which has not won an NCAA game, was led by Gary Blackston’s 26 points.

St. Joe’s fires Martelli: Phil Martelli’s larger-than-life personality endeared himself to Philadelphia basketball fans over a 24-year run as coach at St. Joseph’s, and was never better than in 2003-04 when he led the Hawks to a No. 1 ranking, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a run to the Elite Eight.

St. Joseph’s has fired Martelli, 64, following a third straight losing season (14-19). Martelli went 444-328 (.575) and made the NCAA Tournament seven times.

NIT highlights: D’Shawn Schwartz scored 19 points and host Colorado beat Dayton 78-73… Jeremiah Martin had 21 points as host Memphis topped San Diego 74-60. … Dylan Osetkowski had a career-high 26 points as host Texas defeated South Dakota State 79-73. … Juwan Morgan had 28 points as host Indiana beat St. Francis (Pa.) 89-72. … Markell Johnson had 26 points as host North Carolina State beat Hofstra 84-78.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Belmont-beats-Temple-for-first-NCAA-Tournament-win-13702023.php.

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