The contest marked the 88th meeting between the two longtime rivals. With the Flames set to move to NCAA Division II next season it could be one of the final trips to Chattanooga to battle the Crusaders.
“I thought we played really well tonight, particularly in the first half,” remarked coach Tommy Brown.
Will Barnes and Jamorris Gaines carried much of the scoring load for the Flames. Gaines finished with 25 points and eight rebounds, while Barnes also had 25 points to go along with six assists. Steve Bennett registered a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
“He (Gaines) has a special talent. He’s 6-foot-6, very athletic and can shoot the basketball.” said Brown. “My challenge to him is to use that athleticism on the defensive end as well.”
Junior Chase Dunn added nine markers and sophomore Chad Lee finished with six points and nine boards. Lee, the Chattanooga native, leads the team in rebounding, averaging eight per game.
The Flames continued to shoot the ball well, making 50 percent of their attempts from the field (26-of-52). They also converted 9-of-19 from behind the arc (47 percent). Lee went to the line 33 times and canned 24. Temple struggled shooting the ball in the first half (37 percent) but bounced back in the second half to finish 28-of-62 (45 percent) from the field. The Crusaders hit 9-of-19 3-point attempts, good for 47 percent.
Temple finished with three players in double-figure scoring. Weedlens Beauvil ended the contest with 15 points. Antwan Ruise had 12 markers and Hampton Mack registered 11 points and five rebounds.
Coach Brown’s club won the battle of the boards, outrebounding Temple 38-25. Both teams took care of the basketball as Lee turned it over 12 times while the Crusaders had just nine floor mistakes.
The seventh-ranked Flames move to 16-1 on the year. With the loss the Crusaders fall to 8-9 overall.
Next up for Lee will be an SSAC battle with No. 20 Emmanuel College Thursday evening. Tip time is set for 8 p.m. in Walker Arena.
“It should be an incredible basketball game; they fly up and down the court,” noted Brown.