PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Death, taxes, and a close Big 5 game at the Palestra. All three are part of life’s guarantees.
Temple and LaSalle completed the second of a two-year deal to compete in the fabled arena on Saturday afternoon. After LaSalle came out victorious last season, it was Temple’s turn to celebrate after pulling out a 58-57 victory.
The Owls held a 56-54 lead in the final minute, but the Explorers has a chance to tie the game. However, Jordan Price missed a jump shot with 11 seconds left, and Josh Brown made a pair of free throws to put the game away. A three-pointer by Khalid Lewis at the buzzer was too little, too late for the Explorers, who fell to 4-4 overall and 0-2 in Big 5 play.
Temple (5-3, 2-1 in Big 5 play) appeared to be ready to put the game away early by building a double digit first half lead, but LaSalle closed to within six by halftime and scored the first six points of the second half. Neither team led by more than six the rest of the way and Temple Coach Fran Dunphy was happy with the victory after watching his team struggle in the second half on the offensive end.
“We had six field goals in the second half,” said Dunphy. “That’s not very efficient offense.”
Explorers Coach Dr. John Giannini watched his team dropped his fourth straight game after a 4-0 start to the season.
“I think we out-defended them and out-rebounded them,” Giannini said. “I am really proud of our guys’ effort.”
Quenton DeCosey led Temple with 19 points and had 15 in the first half. It was the seventh straight double digit scoring performance for the junior, who continues to be one of the key contributors on the offensive end for Dunphy’s squad.
“They weren’t going to give him a whole lot of shots in the second half,” said Dunphy. “They set their defense to try and shut him down. He was really good tonight.”
The two teams are scheduled to return to their home venues for this rivalry next season, but players and coaches had high praise for their Palestra experience. The building that has been the venue for a host of Big 5 classics may one day be used again outside of Penn home games for city competition, and Giannini is one of many who would like to see the tradition continue.
“You have to give up one home game every other year to continue one of the best traditions in basketball,” Giannini said. “I think the alums love it. I think the players love it. I think the fans love it.”
“It’s a legendary gym,” DeCosey said. “It was a great atmosphere in a big game.”
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