Game 18: Temple — The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Good Bad & Ugly
Penn was not able to close out the final Big 5 matchup in the way it had hoped in a 76-69 loss to Temple. The Quakers (3-15) jumped to an early lead, which got up to nine points in the second half at the Liacouras Center. But midway through the frame, the Owls went on a 27-12 run, allowing them to take the lead and clinch the victory.

THE GOOD: PLP. Sophomore guard Patrick Lucas-Perry was on fire for the Quakers Wednesday night. When he was on the court, he made himself noticed. Going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc during the first half in addition to netting three free-throws for 12 first-half points. For his 27 minutes on the night, he went 4-for-5, making another trey in the second. Temple coach Fran Dunphy was disappointed that the Owls had trouble containing Penn's "best jump shooter."

THE BAD: Coverage on Wyatt late in the second. Looking at Khalif Wyatt's five first-half points, you might wonder why Penn was unable to pull away with the win on such tight coverage of Temple's main man. But midway through the second, the senior forward exploded, and the Quakers couldn't answer as he notched 21 second-half points for a total of 26. After sinking a three-pointer five minutes into the frame, the Red and Blue just could not stop him, especially after he scored nine straight points for the Owls in less than two minutes midway through the half.

THE UGLY: 27-12 second-half Temple run. The Quakers just couldn't keep up with the Owls after the shift in Wyatt's game and a set of threes from graduate student guard T.J. DiLeo in addition to a ten-point second-half performance from sophomore forward Anthony Lee completely turned the tide of the game. The Red and Blue got up to a nine-point lead, but just started to run out of exhaust on the defensive end, as the Owls took the lead and ultimately the 'W'.

Behind Enemy Lines: Temple’s Fran Dunphy

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Alvin Loke | DP File Photo

The Quakers (3-14, 0-3 Big 5) will be taking on Temple (12-5, 1-0) Wednesday night in their final Big 5 contest of the season. Though this is Fran Dunphy’s seventh year as coach of Penn's Big 5 foe, this will be the first time he takes on former player Ira Bowman, who has latched onto fellow Dunphy alum Jerome Allen as an assistant coach. Both squads have faced a lot of a changes in the past year, but the Owls have continued to dominate. I spoke with Temple coach Fran Dunphy about this familiar matchup and what his plans are heading into this local game.

After your first year as coach of Penn, you lost your top three scorers and struggled the next year.  Do you think the situation faced by Coach Allen has any parallels to what you inherited when you took the Penn job in 1989?

Dunphy: I hadn’t given it a lot of thought, but as I go down Penn’s roster and I see the young guys that they have and the hope for the future that they have, I think Jerome and everybody at Penn should feel very encouraged. I think that they are on their way to building a terrific basketball program and I think the future is very bright.

After 7 years, do you still get any special feeling when you play Penn?

Dunphy: You can’t be somewhere for as long as I was — and in this case the University of Pennsylvania — and not feel a special affinity for the place and the program and everything that it is about. Of course, then you add to it a guy that played for me and who I learned so much from as a person and as a player, so that’s a very special feeling for me. And then of course now you have on staff Ira Bowman, who also played for me. They were two great guys to coach and they have become two great friends as well.

I have tremendous memories of my days at Penn. I was the luckiest guy in America then and I am just as lucky now to have an opportunity to coach another team in the city of Philadelphia, so I feel very fortunate.

We just saw a sold-out Big 5 game at the Palestra between St. Joe's and Penn. Though now some of the games have moved to campus sites, do you ever wish that the Big 5 went back to playing all of the games there?

Dunphy: Well that’s certainly how I grew up and how it was when I was a player at La Salle for three years as well.  All of the games were in the Palestra, so that’s what college basketball in Philadelphia was all about. Certainly the Palestra was college basketball’s arena. But now, times have changed, and we have all had to adapt to it. We have a very nice arena on campus. For us to go back to the Palestra to play all of our Big 5 games would be difficult for our university and athletic department at this point. Yet, I think the purist in all of us appreciates everything that went on back in the day. Would it be great to go back and do that again? Sure it would, maybe on a one year occasion or something like that if we could interrupt things. A number of years ago we tried to have all six teams play in the Palestra on a given day as a celebration of sorts, but there were too many other complications or things that got in the way to allow that to happen again.

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Three Up, Three Down: Temple Edition

After Saturday's loss to St. Joseph's, the Quakers take to the road to face off against Big 5 rival Temple, led by former Penn head coach Fran Dunphy. Here are some predictions for the final non-conference match up for the Red and Blue this season.

Three Up-

Darien Nelson-Henry: Over the past five games, the freshman big man has averaged 13 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Nelson-Henry’s progression has been easy to notice, especially in the second half against St. Joseph’s, where the Quakers ran the offense through him in the post. Look for more of the same against Temple, especially since the only players above 6’9 for the Owls, Jimmy McDonnell and Devontae Watson, have combined for just 4.2 minutes per game.

Three point defense: Penn’s defense behind the three point arc on Saturday was well below par, giving up 11 three pointers and letting St. Joe’s take over the game. However, Temple is a very different Big 5 team, as they are 14th in the Atlantic 10 in three-point percentage, giving the Quakers a better chance of limiting long-range opportunities.

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