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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Moore steps up in Big-5 showdown

Redshirt-senior guard Ramone Moore put on a show in one of the biggest games of the final season of his career.

Moore scored a career-high 32 points in Temple’s 78-67 win against Villanova on Saturday night in a Big-5 basketball showdown.

“I think every Big-5 game means more,” Moore said. “I wanted to take the challenge of beating those guys so we could have the bragging rights and say that we won the Big-5 this year.”

“[Moore] is the glue of our group,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “He’s the guy that everybody looks up to. His leadership was critical.”

The Philadelphia native surpassed his previous career best of 30 points in last year’s upset against nationally-ranked [No. 9/10] Georgetown. After averaging 20 points per game in the NCAA Tournament in March, Moore proved again on Saturday that he steps up for his team in big games.

“[Moore] has had a number of these kinds of games over the years when we’ve needed someone to step up,” Dunphy said. “We can’t win this game without him having this kind of game.”

Moore took over the game in the second half, netting 23 of his points in the final 20 minutes. Moore scored 16 points on field goals and 14 on free throws.

Moore said he drove to the paint more in the second half after not shooting well in the first half.

“In the first half my three wasn’t going down,” Moore said. “I said to myself, I’m going to start driving. I tried to be aggressive and get to the free throw line.”

Moore continuously attacked Villanova defenders in the paint and drew the foul in the second half. He finished with a clutch 14 of 15 free throws.

“We were in the bonus [early], so I told the guys, if you can, get to the basket and get to the free throw line,” Moore said. “We go as the game goes.”

Moore’s big day came at a time when two of the Owls’ leading scorers didn’t shoot well. Senior guard Juan Fernandez finished with six points and junior guard Khalif Wyatt shot seven for 19 overall.

In addition to Wyatt and Fernandez’s shooting woes, the Owls were without starting seniors Micheal Eric and Scootie Randall, who are both out indefinitely with injury.

Dunphy said Moore’s performance was a product of the type of person he is.

“[Moore] had to take over, and he did it,” Dunphy said. “But that’s not unexpected. I’m not surprised by it because that’s the kind of character that he has and the kind of person he is.”

“I just tried to be aggressive,” Moore added. “I knew it was going to take one of us to have a big game in order for us to win. I was very fortunate that my teammates put me in situations to score the basketball.”

Moore dropped seven points in a row during a stretch in the game’s final ten minutes, capped off by an acrobatic put back after being fouled while going for a layup. The play sent the sold-out Liacouras Center crowd into a frenzy.

“The fans get excited for this every year,” Moore said. “It makes it even better when we win.”

Moore capped off his career performance by scoring four of the Owls’ final eight points. Overall, Moore scored 32 points in 34 minutes while adding six rebounds and two assists.

“[Moore] has a scorer’s mentality,” Dunphy said. “When you’re coaching someone like that, you get out of the way and let him make the plays he’s going to make.”

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