By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Safe to say, it will be the biggest Big 5 game of the season on Thursday night as Temple hosts La Salle.
The Explorers have already earned a share of the City Series title and with a win in this game, they will grab the title outright for the first time since the 1989-90 season. Temple is 2-1 in Big 5 games, so with a win, they would share the crown with La Salle.
La Salle brings a four-game winning streak into this game. Last time out, they beat St. Joe’s, 76-64, at the Palestra.
“We played very well, especially offensively,” La Salle head coach Dr. John Giannini tells KYW Newsradio. “We shared the ball and we made shots. We were fun to watch. We were aggressive and unselfish. Defensively, we played very hard, but we still gave up 62% (shooting) in the second half.”
Temple has played an incredible five straight one-point games, going 3-2 during that nerve-wracking stretch. The fifth game in that streak was an 83-82 win over UMass on Saturday.
“We’ve had some close games, I don’t think it’s a big deal,” Temple head coach Fran Dunphy tells KYW Newsradio. “I mentioned it in another interview, the reality is we have a five-point turnaround in the first half that influenced the game much more than last plays of the games. We threw up a bad shot, they ran it down and got a three. That’s as influential as anything, it happened much earlier in the game. Each possession is critical, and we’ve had some, obviously, close games here the last five games. We’re going to have a lot more close games as we go down the end of the season. So hopefully we’ll prevail at some point.”