There is nothing like beating your rivals with a last minute shot to put your team on top. That is what went down Sunday night between the Temple Owls vs the La Salle Explorers. The Owls fell to La Salle 87-83 to put Temple at (3-1) and La Salle at (4-3).
The city of Philadelphia is known for its rich college basketball history, with the annual Big Five games. Villanova, Penn, Saint Joe, Temple, and La Salle all play each other before conference play starts to decide who rules the city for that season. Fran Dunphy, head coach of Temple, played for La Salle from 1967-1970, which is the beauty of Philadelphia college basketball, its a family. Coaches have ties to other schools which creates a rivalry that is unlike any other. This was the 126th meeting between the two ball clubs and tonight was another down to the wire performance.
— Temple Men's BBall (@TUMBBHoops) November 26, 2017
A spark by Temple senior Josh Brown opened up the game with three quick buckets, which led to a 16-8 lead halfway through the first half. Obi Enechionyia set a career goal with 1,000 points scored in his four years at Temple with hitting his free throws at the line. With the excitement around this accomplishment, the play started to decline as the Explorers cut into the lead to make it 43-37 Owls going into halftime.
Something that should be noticed that does not appear on the stat sheet is the fact that Temple plays stag net. To clarify, when Temple turns the ball over, which happened 13 times tonight, it is due to laziness. The Owls were looking to be smooth sailing with a 66-55 lead with 10:23 left in the game until they got lazy with the next three out of four possessions leading to turnovers. These turnovers are due to players trying to make shots for themselves not using the pick and roll to Temples advantage with the theatrical guards that they have.
The lead was soon a tie with a lay-up by Pookie Powell to make it 66-66 on an 11-0 run by the Explorers.
— La Salle Basketball (@LaSalleMBB) November 27, 2017
It was looking like the Owls would pull this out when the 1000 career point scorer Obi Enechionyia hit a go-ahead three-point basket with 2:45 left to make it 79-76 Temple. The shot was created by two offensive rebounds by Josh Brown and Quentin Rose.
Quentin Rose hit a shot with a beautiful pump fake step back to put the Owls back on top 81-80 after Amar Stukes of La Salle, hit clutch free throws the possession beforehand. It wasn’t overheard folks, it was just getting started.
A question that needs to be answered is how do you stop Pookie Powell. This man must have had an extra bowl of Wheaties Cereal this morning as he hit a go-ahead three-point shot over Temple guard Josh Browns face sealing the deal for the Explorers to go up 83-81 with only 0.39 seconds left.
DeAndre Perry of Temple made putback layup to make it an 85-83, with La Salle leading with only a few seconds left. It was not enough as La Salle went to the free throw line and closed the game out. La Salle went (14-15) from the line in this game with going (4-4) in the last minute. It showed you who the better team down the stretch was and we go back to the issue with Temple of individualistic tactics at the end of the game.
Quentin Rose without question will be an NBA prospect, but let’s remember he is only a sophomore. Rose had two costly turnovers in the last minute of this game, which makes fans ponder as to why Obi Enechionyia did not get a play drawn up for him by head coach Fran Dunphy. Temple has to play as a unit in close games or they will be sitting as an NIT team when March rolls around.
Tonight’s high scorers
Temple: Quentin Rose (21 points, 10-17 )
La Salle: Pookie Powell(29 points, 10-19)
The Owls travel up the turnpike to the city that never sleeps, yes folks, it is the Under Armour Reunion Classic between Temple and South Carolina on November 30th. It is always a pleasure to be playing under the lights at Madison Square Garden, and Fran Dunphy and the Owls last visited there in the NIT tournament back in 2015. This will be another SEC school the Owls have a chance to take down this season.