The numbers don't lie. There was St. Bonaventure, No. 313 in the nation in three-point shooting heading into Saturday's game against Temple. At a feeble 25.9 percent from beyond the arc, the Bonnies were better only than Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Texas Southern.
Bona's 74-59 win over the Owls was an upset of major proportions, but it was downright amazing to see the hosts beating the Atlantic 10's last unbeaten team by raining home three-pointers from all over the Reilly Center court.
Was it a symptom of the Millennium Bug? Proper alignment of the moon and the stars? A take-that to the growing legion of doubters among Western New York fans and media?
Whatever it was, it had the sellout crowd of 6,000 in delirium most of the afternoon. Senior forward Isaac King led Bona with 24 points -- all on three-pointers. Tim Winn chipped in 20, hitting five threes.
"I thought for a minute there I had (Greg) Sanders on the right and (Glenn) Hagen on the left," cracked coach Jim Baron, referring to his top shooters when he was the point guard on Bona's 1977 NIT champs. "I was like coach (Jim) Satalin that year going, 'No, no, no. Take it.' "
The Bonnies took it 31 times and set a school record by making 14 three-pointers. King was 8 for 19, posting school marks for makes and attempts and coming one short of the Atlantic 10 record in each category.
Bona (10-11, 4-5) won its second game in a row for just the second time this season, while handing Temple (13-7, 7-1) its worst loss of the year.
The Owls were a horrific 2 of 24 from three-point range as they failed to make any headway against Bona's aggressive zone defense. Meanwhile, their trademark matchup zone didn't deter the Bonnies at all: Bona was 7 for 15 from long range in the first half, 7 for 16 in the second when it outscored the Owls, 49-31, to wipe out a 28-25 halftime deficit.
"I've got to give my staff and these players credit for really working and preparing themselves," Baron said. "We never put our heads down and it's very easy to do that when you've got people saying this and saying that about you like we've had."
Bona's improved passing resulted in 17 assists, the most in the past 12 games, and many of the three-pointers were wide-open shots. Freshman J.R. Bremer came off the bench for a career-high seven assists and Winn had six.
"Usually when we play these guys, we're searching for where we're going to get our points from," Winn said. "Now we're coming down in the second half and I actually thought every time we had the ball we could score on them today. Then on defense, we're shutting down everything they do. Hitting shots today did a lot."
King was just 17 for 66 from three-point range for the season, but awoke with 16 points and hit both of his three-point attempts in Thursday's win over La Salle.
Everything changed after the Bonnies missed 10 of their first 11 shots and fell behind, 9-2, through eight minutes.
Bona had the crowd roaring by ending its next six possessions with three-pointers, four by King and two by Winn. King hit three in a 53-second span to help Bona suddenly surge into a 20-13 lead.
"My teammates just kept on finding me and the shots just went down," said King. "It wasn't easy, but it was nice to be back on the horse again."
King put this one away by hitting back-to-back treys in a 44-second span late in the second half. They capped a 9-0 run that put Bona in control, 59-47, and had the crowd chanting, "We want Ike, We want Ike."
While King was popular enough to run for president, Temple coach John Chaney was interested in raising Baron's approval rating.
"You have to look at what a great job this coach is doing, irrespective of what the fans say or what you guys (the media) write," Chaney said. ". . . It's a team that never quits and you have to attribute that to the coach. Kids will quit on you if the coach allows them to.
"For you guys in this area to be getting on that coach, from what I've heard, it's a damn shame. Try going out and pick up another one. Fire him and go pick up another one. You're going to have the same (stuff) on your hands."
Chaney had a pile of, um, stuff on his hands Saturday. No one, not Indiana nor Wisconsin nor Fresno State, had beaten Temple so soundly. The Owls' worst previous loss was at Stanford (7).
Temple played without starting center Kevin Lyde (nerve trouble in his arm). Peter Van Paassen, Bona's 6-foot-11 sophomore, took advantage of the 6-9 Lyde's absence by scoring all 12 of his points in the second half.
"It was unbelievable," Chaney said. "They (the Bonnies) were licking their chops, like we're something good to eat. We couldn't have won that game if I took your computers and computerized it."