You knew Khalif Wyatt would take the last shot.
Down two with just seven seconds to go in front of a raucous Dayton crowd Saturday, Wyatt delivered the game-winning, 3-pointer in a 72-71 victory and furthered his case of being voted A-10 and Big 5 Player of the Year.
“For me, it just means that all the hard work I’ve put in over four years has paid off,” said Wyatt on possibly receiving both awards. “With the accolades, I’ll always have them and nobody can take them away from me.”
Wyatt leads the A-10 in scoring with 18.9 per game and he’s scored at least 18 in the past nine games. He has carried the Owls to a 16-7 overall record despite a weak surrounding cast.
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In a 70-69 loss to Saint Joseph’s on Feb. 2, Wyatt scored a career-high 34 points and was the only Owl to register a basket from the 8:50 mark in the second half until the final buzzer. Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli said Wyatt showed “courage.”
“It’s cool that people respect the way that I play,” said Wyatt. “I like hearing what people say about my game and that meant a lot coming from coach Martelli. He’s like a Philadelphia legend.”
As for the Owls, Wyatt believes that Temple can still reach the goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the season.
“I’ve been trying to keep the guys positive,” said Wyatt. “It's a long season and you're going to go through your rough stretches. We still have a lot of season left. We want to be Atlantic 10 champions and to go to the NCAA tournament and we still have a chance to do that.”
Wyatt was arrested on his 21st birthday in Atlantic City in a prostitution bust.
“It was a learning experience and it’s actually helped me a lot," he said. "My game has gotten a lot better and I’ve grown as a person. It was just something that happened and was something in my life I’ve had to work through.”
Wyatt's Top 5 games
» Downing No. 3 Duke: Wyatt willed Temple to the upset. He had 22 points, including two deep 3-pointers to put the Blue Devils away last season
» Orange juice: Syracuse was undefeated and eyeing the No. 1 ranking in college basketball. Wyatt had other plans. He put in 33 to lead the Owls to yet another Top 5 defeat
» Career-high at St. Joe's: In a classic Big 5 showdown, Wyatt put in a career-high 34 points, including seven three's. St. Joe's was still able to pull out a nail-biting 70-69 win
» Flying over Dayton: Wyatt scored 20 Saturday, including a game-winning three to give the Owls a much-needed road win.
» Coming out party: Starting for the injured Juan Fernandez as a sophomore, Wyatt registers 15 points, four rebounds, six assists and three steals in a win over St. Bonaventure.