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Updated: Saturday, March 15, 2003 10:24 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL PREVIEW
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Temple (15-14) at No. 21 Dayton (24-5)
TEMPLE OWLS
Temple Owls
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DAYTON FLYERS
Dayton Flyers
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DAYTON, Ohio (Ticker) -- No. 21 Dayton hopes it can use its home-court advantage to defeat upset-minded Temple and win the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament for the first time in school history on Saturday at the UD Arena.

The Flyers (24-5) needed their hometown fans in the tournament semifinals on Friday, when they blew an 18-point second-half lead before outplaying St. Joseph's down the stretch in a 76-73 triumph.

In the waning seconds, D.J. Stelly stripped the ball from Pat Carroll, who was attempting a game-tying 3-pointer.

Ramod Marshall scored 15 points, Brooks Hall 14, Mark Jones 13 and Keith Waleskowski 11 and 11 rebounds for Dayton, which has won 19 of 22 games.

The Flyers are in the final of their league tournament for the first time since 1990, when they won the Midwestern Collegiate Conference.

Dayton is 16-1 at UD Arena this season, which ties the school record for most wins at the venue.

Temple (15-14) upset top-seeded Xavier on Friday, 63-57, to move within one victory of an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Brian Polk scored 22 points and David Hawkins 21 for the Owls, who began the season 3-11.

The Owls limited the Musketeers to just 39 percent shooting.

Temple, which is 8-3 at the Arena, is 81-38 in March under coach John Chaney.

"They're playing extremely well in their last 10 ballgames," Dayton coach Oliver Purnell said of Temple. "They're playing as well as anybody in the league. Defensively, they're excellent. They've gotten better and better in their zone, and you've got to really defend them and not let them get on a roll. Then you've got a good chance to beat them."


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