PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Palestra will be rocking tonight as two Big 5 rivals go at it, Penn hosting the Temple Owls.
This will be the season opener for the Owls, while Penn already has one game under its belt. The Quakers beat UMBC on Friday night to open their season, 59-45.
The Owls have a lot of experience coming back this season, but they have one big hole to fill as forward Lavoy Allen has moved on.
Owls head coach Fran Dunphy says that Allen will be missed most on defense.
“No one is going to be able to replace Lavoy that way,” Dunphy tells KYW Newsradio. “He was just terrific on the defensive end. Always in position, and always covering up for anybody else’s mistakes that we had out there.”
Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Fran Dunphy in this CBS Philly SportsPod…
But Dunphy thinks there is one young, big body that can help fill the void left by Allen.
“I think that (redshirt freshman) Anthony Lee is a guy who we are going to be able to bring off the bench and give us significant minutes,” he says. “We need him to play probably 20-25 minutes a game, and he has played well. He’s done a very good job for us. The other question will be, how healthy will Scootie Randall be?”
Randall will miss the first part of the season after undergoing knee surgery in June. He missed the end of last season because of a foot problem.
The senior forward averaged 10.7 points a game last season, shooting 49.5 percent from the field in the process.
As for the matchup with Penn, Dunphy says he is looking forward to it.
“You know, it is always exciting to play your first game. But by the same token, you’re never ready. You never feel like you have enough time to prepare everybody for what you are going to face. But it’s the first game of the year — let’s play it. It’s Penn at the Palestra, so it has a little different feel for me as well.”
Dunphy was the longtime coach of the Quakers before coming to Temple.
Tipoff tonight at the Palestra is set for 7:00pm.
Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060