It was going to be a tough Big Five game with two coaches who know and respect each other. Both Fran Dunphy of Temple and Jerome Allen of the University of Pennsylvania knew that, and prepared their team for a battle. When it was over respect was given to each other. Temple won it, and Dunphy knows what his team will need to do to continue to win.
“We’re in one of those stretches where we are going to have to grind in every game in order to be a good basketball team,” said Dunphy. “The grind has to be at the defensive end, We’re going to have to work hard on the offensive end too. We’re going to have to grind every game, every possession.”
The Owls did enough grinding to get a 73 – 56 win at the Liacouris Center. The final score did not indicate how tough and how close the game was on the court. Penn Senior Forward Jack Eggleston made a layup with 8:15 to play cutting the gap to 51 – 45. Penn did not get another basket until there was 5:15 on the clock as Senior Guard Tyler Bernardini hit a three. Temple scored eight of ten points to go in front by double digits, and eventually spread the lead to 18 at 69 – 51 with 2:54 to play.
Penn committed 23 turnovers in the game which led to a 28 – 12 edge in Points Off Turnovers. Temple also had 14 steals as six players had a steal.
“We’re not a team that forces that many (turnovers),” said Dunphy. “We read the passing lanes well.”
“With six minutes to go we had 20 turnovers,” Allen said. “When you limit your chances at the basket, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. I thought they sustained their toughness more than we did. We didn’t have the poise or the patience we needed coming down the stretch.”
Offensively, Temple got help from an unexpected source as Sophomore Guard Khalif Wyatt scored a career-high 27 points making 9 of 13 shots from the field and hitting 4 of 6 three-pointers. Wyatt also had a career-high 5 steals.
“Coach told me to come off the bench and be aggressive and the team told me the same thing,” said Wyatt. “I came in and shot the ball. It went in, so I kept shooting. Once I hit a couple of shots my teammates kept looking for me, set screens for me. It got me open and I was getting good shots.”
“We got lucky with Khalif having the game he did.” Dunphy said.
Junior Guard Ramone Moore scored 12 and Senior Forward Lavoy Allen contributed 10 points for Temple who made 27 of 52 field goal attempts for 51.9%. The Owls made 6 of 15 three-pointers.
Bernardini led Penn in scoring with 17 points. Eggleston added 15 points. Junior Guard Zack Rosen was limited to 7 points. He had 5 assists, but also committed 5 turnovers. The Red and Blue made 19 of 43 field goal attempts and 8 of 15 from beyond the arc.
Penn’s last win against Temple was a 76 – 74 in 2007. It was Dunphy’s first game against Penn as the coach of Temple. It was also the last time the Quakers won a Big Five game. They have been 0 – 15 since in the city series. The next game for Penn is against Saint Joseph’s. It is their final Big Five game of the season. For the senior class a loss would mean going 0 – 16 in Big Five play.
It is hard for the seniors to believe, and for Eggleston it is hard to accept. That game is their last chance to get a city win, and it is meaningful for them.
“It’s big,” said Eggleston. “If you told me that we’s be 0 – 15, I would have said ‘you’re crazy’.”
For Allen the next game is an important because it is the next game.
Key Run of the Game
Penn got to within 6 at 51 – 45 with 8:15 play. Temple began an 18 – 6 run to give the Owls a 69 – 51 lead, their largest, and put the game in the win column. Wyatt scored 8 points, Moore tallied 6 points, and Junior Guard Juan Fernandez had 4 points in the run.
Key Stat in the Game
The game was statistically even, but the 23 Penn turnovers gave Temple a 28 – 12 edge in Points Off Turnovers.
Key Players in the Game
For Temple – Khalif Wyatt who had career-highs in points with 27 and steals with 5.
For Penn – Jack Eggleston who scored 15 points making 6 of 8 from the field and went 3 – 3 from three-point land. Eggleston pulled down 5 rebounds.
Point Where the Game Was Decided
In the midst of the 18 – 6 run that gave Temple their 18 point lead Ramone Moore scored on a dunk with 3:47 to play that gave the Owls a 66 – 51 lead with 3:47 left to play. It was the next to last field goal for the Cherry and White.
Thoughts and Musings
Dunphy and Allen expected the best from each other at Penn, and those expectations continue today. Afterwards, following the grind, in typical Big Five fashion each team congratulated each other, and each coach paid homage to the other saying the other team deserved the win.
“I have a lot of respect for that man (Dunphy),” Allen said. “It was a tough battle that was representative of Philadelphia, a workman like attitude. I thought Temple wanted it a bit more than we did.”
“I don’t think we played as well as Penn played,” answered Dunphy. “Jerome deserves A lot of credit for where they are as a basketball team and will continue to make it grow.”
It makes you wish they both could have won.
Written By: Glenn Papazian