Philadelphia, PA – The 22nd-ranked Temple Owls will attempt to take a step closer to the Atlantic 10 regular season title as they head across town for a visit to Hagan Arena to battle the Saint Joseph's Hawks.
This matchup is the deciding contest in this year's Philadelphia Big 5 standings. A TU win would give the Owls the outright title, but Saint Joseph's would tie Temple with a victory. Temple has not visited Saint Joseph's campus since 2001.
Temple and Saint Joseph's will be squaring off for the 154th time tonight. Temple holds an 88-65 lead in the series as it has came out of the last 10 encounters victorious, including a 78-60 decision over the Hawks on Jan. 28th last month. The Owls set a season-high as they shot 60 percent from the field in the first bout with St. Joseph's, while the Hawks managed to make 41.1 percent of their field goals in the contest.
Fran Dunphy led his Owls to their 11th straight victory on Wednesday as they took down the La Salle Explorers, 80-79, in an overtime thriller to improve to 22-5 overall. Temple's win gave it sole possession of first place in the A-10 standings as it is an impressive 11-2 in league action. The Owls held the Explorers to 38.6 percent shooting in the contest, which made it the second time in a row TU held an opponent under 40 percent shooting. 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 Wednesday as he led the Owls with 25 points on 7- of-11 shooting from the field. Wyatt is the team's second leading scorer for the season with an average of 17.3 ppg. Ramone Moore has been the go-to-guy with a conference leading average of 18.1 ppg. Juan Fernandez does a nice job running the show for Temple, as he is adding 11.2 points and 4.0 assists per game. The Owls are powered inside by Michael Eric and Rahlir Hollis- Jefferson's forward play.
The Hawks saw their three-game winning streak end on Wednesday as they lost 52-49 to the Richmond Spiders at home. The 49-point scoring output by Saint Joseph's set a new season-low. Phil Martelli's team is now 18-11 overall and 8-6 in A-10 action. Saint Joseph's is leading the conference in field goal defense, as its opponents are making just 39.2 percent of their shots from the floor. The Hawks have outscored its opposition by an average of 4.1 ppg.
Carl Jones is leading Saint Joseph's balanced attack with an average of 16.1 ppg. The junior guard struggled on Wednesday as he went just 2-of-11 from the field to score just 10 points. Langston Galloway is second on the team in scoring with 15.5 ppg. C.J. Aiken, Ronald Roberts, Jr., and Halil Kanacevic are providing front court toughness for the Hawks.