(22) Temple (21-5) at La Salle (18-9)
Tuesday February 21st, 7:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Tom Gola Arena (5,000) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: None. Home Record: Temple 10-1, La Salle 12-1. Away Record: Temple 8-3, La Salle 5-7. Neutral Record: Temple 3-1, La Salle 1-1. Conference Record: Temple 9-2, La Salle 7-5. Series Record: Temple leads, 71-40.
GAME NOTES: The 22nd-ranked Temple Owls will try to continue their winning streak as they head across town to take on the La Salle Explorers at Tom Gola Arena in Atlantic 10 Conference action.
The Owls have almost doubled La Salle in the all-time Philadelphia Big 5 series, holding a 71-40 advantage thanks to a six-game win streak that saw Temple post a 76-70 win in the most recent meeting on January 18th last month. The Owls managed to hit 51.9 percent of their field goals in the first encounter this season, which gave them the advantage as the Explorers shot 45.2 percent from the floor.
Fran Dunphy led his Owls to their 10th straight victory on Saturday as they took down the Duquesne Dukes, 78-59, to improve to 21-5 overall. Temple's win gave it sole possession of first place in the A-10 standings as it is an impressive 10-2 in league action. The Owls had a stellar shooting performance against Duquesne on Saturday, as they hit 57.7 percent of their field goals including 10-of-19 from beyond the arc to pick up the victory. Temple is second in the A-10 in scoring offense with an average of 75.5 ppg, and is allowing opponents to net 68.5 ppg on the defensive end.
Khalif Wyatt took over on Saturday as he led the Owls with 24 points on 11- of-17 shooting from the field. Wyatt is the team's second leading scorer for the season with an average of 17.0 ppg. Ramone Moore has been the go-to-guy with a conference leading average of 18.2 ppg. Juan Fernandez does a nice job running the show for Temple, as he is adding 11.5 points and 3.9 assists per game. The Owls are powered inside by Michael Eric and Rahlir Hollis- Jefferson's forward play.
The Explorers ended their three-game losing streak on Saturday with a 72-71 win over the Massachusetts Minutemen, which kept them three games back of Temple in the league standings with a 7-5 A-10 record. La Salle is 18-9 overall. Head coach Dr. John Giannini is one win away from breaking his career-high with the program, which has not seen postseason action during any of his previous seven seasons. La Salle's +8.5 scoring margin this season is second best in the A-10.
Ramon Galloway is a lights out shooter from long range for La Salle. The junior guard is tied for the team's lead with 14.7 ppg while ranking second in the conference in three-point percentage (.468) and made three-point field goals per game (2.5). Earl Pettis, Tyreek Duren, and Sam Mills all possess scoring averages in double figures as well, which makes the Explorers very difficult to defend. Devon White and Matt Sheehan provide energy from the bench for Giannini as well.
This is a crucial game for both sides. A loss for Temple would have it forfeit sole possession and put it in a tie for first place in the league. La Salle looked like it was destined for the NCAA Tournament, but its three-game losing slide hurt it badly. The Explorers will need to string together a few wins to get the selection committee's attention. Another loss at home in a mid-major conference might be too much to overcome for the Explorers. With its back against the ropes, expect La Salle to come out swinging in this Philadelphia battle.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: La Salle 73, Temple 71
02/22 10:33:25 ET