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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NCAA MEN'S TOURNAMENT : Temple Knocks Off Vanderbilt, 67-59 : West: Freshman Battie's two free throws clinch victory that sends young Owls into regional final against Michigan.

March 27, 1993|DANNY ROBBINS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SEATTLE — At just about every turn, Temple Coach John Chaney wails about how he doesn't know much about his team, which starts two juniors, two freshmen and a sophomore.

But the Owls keep leaving clues.

They held off Vanderbilt in the final five minutes to beat the Commodores, 67-59, in the West Regional semifinals Friday in the Kingdome. Temple, the region's seventh-seeded team, will meet top-seeded Michigan in the final Sunday.

Freshman forward Derrick Battie made two free throws with 14 seconds remaining to clinch the victory for the Owls (20-12), who at one point in the season were 10-10.

Forward Eddie Jones led Temple with 26 points, 18 coming in the second half, but the victory was largely a product of the Owls' defense, a matchup zone that checked Vanderbilt's perimeter shooters. Temple used only six players.

Amazingly, the Owls committed only nine fouls, and Vanderbilt (28-6), the region's No. 3 team, shot only one free throw.

"They know the passing lanes, anticipate well," Vanderbilt forward Bruce Elder said. "They have big guys underneath . . . They just have good players who run their defense well. They make it tough on you. They make you make passes and get in situations you're really not used to."

Vanderbilt's hot scorer, guard Billy McCaffrey, was held to 17 points, and forward Kevin Anglin and center Chris Lawson combined for only seven points.

Nonetheless, sophomore guard Ronnie McMahan almost was enough to stop the Owls. He made seven of 11 three-point shots, three in the last 4:22.

A layup by Battie (12 points, 10 rebounds) put Temple ahead by 12 with 4:33 to play. But then McMahan began his run of three-pointers to make the end tight.

A three-pointer by McMahan brought the Commodores to within two, 59-57, with 53 seconds showing. Battie followed with two free throws. Then McCaffrey hit a 17-footer, making it a two-point game with 33 seconds left.

Aaron McKie sank made only one of two free throws for Temple, giving Vanderbilt a chance to tie.

But McMahan's three-pointer banged off the front of the rim. Battie rebounded and then made both free throws at the other end.

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