NEW YORK – Khalif Wyatt had never been in Madison Square Garden let alone played there.
The Philadelphia native left the building Saturday after scoring a career-high 33 points and being the key to Temple beating No. 3 Syracuse 83-79 in the first Chevrolet Gotham Classic.
“I always wanted to play here because all the great players had a chance to play here,” the 6-foot-4 senior said. “This was a chance for us to show everyone that Temple is a real program.”
Anthony Lee had a career-high 21 points for the Owls (9-2), who were coming off a 10-point home loss to Canisius.
“I don’t think we would have won today without the loss in the last game,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. “Our guys did a great job today. I wish it was worth more than one victory.”
This is the fifth straight season Temple has beaten a top 10 team while being unranked.
The latest win in that stretch game with the combination of Wyatt from the outside and Lee inside.
“We wanted to go inside and out and that meant me going up strong and fighting for rebounds,” said Lee, who had nine rebounds, five offensive, and worked the baseline again and again against Syracuse’s vaunted zone. “That’s playing the Temple game.”
No. 9 Kansas 74, No. 7 Ohio State 66: Redshirt freshman Ben McLemore scored 22 points and No. 9 Kansas proved it was more than just a bully at home by beating seventh-ranked Ohio State 74-66.
It was the third victory for the Jayhawks (10-1) in little more than a year over the Buckeyes (9-2). Kansas won a 64-62 thriller in last year’s NCAA semifinals.
The Jayhawks, who had yet to play a true road game, held Ohio State without a field goal for more than 10 minutes of the second half. The Buckeyes, who were led by Deshaun Thomas’ 16 points, hit just 9 of 36 shots from the field in the final 20 minutes.
Jeff Withey added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Jayhawks. Elijah Johnson added 13 and Travis Releford 11.
No. 12 Missouri 82, No. 10 Illinois 73: Laurence Bowers had 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 12 Missouri over No. 10 Illinois 82-73 in the annual Braggin’ Rights game.
Alex Oriakhi added 13 points and 14 rebounds as Missouri (10-1) won its fourth straight in the 32-year-old series. Jabari Brown had 18 points and Phil Pressey handed out 11 assists.
Brandon Paul led Illinois (12-1) with 23 points. Tyler Griffey scored 14, Joseph Bertrand had 13 and Nnanna Egwu 12 for the Illini.
No. 11 Cincinnati 68, Wright State 58:
JaQuon Parker scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half, and No. 11 Cincinnati remained unbeaten by overcoming another poor start for a 68-58 victory over Wright State.
The Bearcats improved to 12-0 for the eighth time in school history and the second time in three seasons. Cincinnati won its first 15 games in 2010-11.
For the second game in a row, the Bearcats struggled in half-court offense and scored only 22 points in the first half. Parker scored Cincinnati’s first eight in the second half, sparking a 23-6 run that put the Bearcats in control for the first time. The 21 points matched his season high.
No. 15 Georgetown 65, American 48: Otto Porter had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and No. 15 Georgetown pulled away late in the first half in a 65-48 win over D.C. neighbor American.
Greg Whittington added 13 points for the Hoyas (10-1), who took advantage of the sizable talent gap between the Big East school and the Eagles from the Patriot League. Georgetown has a nine-game winning streak over American, its last loss coming 30 years ago when Patrick Ewing and Co. lost by one point in what still stands as the biggest intra-city upset in the nation’s capital.
Any thought of another stunner was dispatched when the Hoyas went on an 11-2 run to end the first half, then a 8-0 spurt to start the second half to build a 48-25 lead. It would be a stretch to say the teams are rivals – the atmosphere at the Verizon Center was relaxed, especially with the cheerleaders, band and many other students away for Christmas – and the bigger conversations surrounding Georgetown center on its decision a week ago to join a group of schools that will break away from the Big East, perhaps taking the name with them.
South Dakota State 70, No. 16 New Mexico 65:
Nate Wolters scored 28 points and handed out seven assists, leading South Dakota State to a 70-65 upset of No. 16 New Mexico.
Kendall Williams scored 21 to lead the Lobos, who went 7 of 12 from the foul line in the closing minutes to frustrate their own comeback efforts.
Jordan Dykstra had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Jackrabbits, who went 10 for 11 from the line down the stretch to preserve their lead. Chad White added 13 points for South Dakota State and Brayden Carlson had 10.
No. 19 Butler 75, Evansville 67:
Rotnei Clarke and Andrew Smith each scored 20 points to lead No. 19 Butler past pesky Evansville 75-67.
The Bulldogs (9-2) have won six straight and completed a five-game sweep of Indiana schools – including last weekend’s stunning overtime victory against the top-ranked Hoosiers.
Evansville (7-5) was led by Colt Ryan with 25 points and Ned Cox with 12 as the Aces lost for the first time in three games.
Butler, playing its first game since last week’s win over then-No. 1 Indiana, was sluggish early but regrouped with a 22-8 run that gave the Bulldogs a 25-17 lead with 6:34 left in the first half.
Evansville spent the rest of the game playing catch-up.
No. 20 Michigan State 67, Texas 56:
Derrick Nix had 25 points and 11 rebounds to help No. 20 Michigan State surged past Texas 67-56.
Nix was 7-for-10 from the field and 11-for-13 at the line, a major improvement for a 64.9-percent foul shooter.
Keith Appling had 14 points and Adreian Payne added 13 for the Spartans (11-2), who stayed perfect in six December games.
Julien Lewis scored 16 points and Sheldon McClellan had 13 for the Longhorns (7-5), who couldn’t match the efficiency of their 85-67 win over North Carolina Wednesday night.
No. 24 Oklahoma State 78, Tennessee Tech 42:
Freshman Phil Forte scored 22 points to lead No. 24 Oklahoma State to a 78-42 victory over Tennessee Tech.
Forte hit 6 of 11 from 3-point range and the Cowboys (10-1) hit a season-high 11 3-point field goals. Kamari Murphy scored 12 points, Markel Brown and Marcus Smart each scored 11, and Kirby Gardner added 10 points and seven assists.
No. 25 N.C. State 92, St. Bonaventure 73:
C.J. Leslie scored a career-high 33 points to lead No. 25 North Carolina State past St. Bonaventure 92-73.
Scott Wood added a season-best 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting and Lorenzo Brown had a season-high 11 assists for the Wolfpack (9-2).
The nation’s most accurate shooting team shot 57 percent, never trailed and now heads into its weeklong holiday break on a five-game winning streak.