La Salle (18-6) at Temple (17-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 21, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Liacouras Center (10,200) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: CBS Sports Network. Home Record: La Salle 11-2, Temple 10-3. Away Record: La Salle 7-4, Temple 6-4. Neutral Record: La Salle 0-0, Temple 1-1. Conference Record: La Salle 8-3, Temple 6-5. Series Record: leads, .
GAME NOTES: The La Salle Explorers can capture the Philadelphia Big 5 City Series title on Thursday when they invade the Liacouras Center for an Atlantic 10 Conference matchup with the Temple Owls.
This will conclude the yearly inner city round robin between the five Philadelphia schools that participate in the City Series title. The Explorers took down Villanova, Penn, and Saint Joseph's to put themselves in position to capture sole possession of the crown. Temple also downed Villanova and Penn, but lost by one-point to Saint Joseph's.
Dr. John Giannini's Explorers knocked off Saint Joseph's on Saturday, 74-64, to mark their fourth win in a row and improve to an 18-6 overall record. La Salle is right near the top of the Atlantic 10 Conference standings as well with an 8-3 mark. Ramon Galloway has been a steady engine for the Explorers with 17.3 points and 3.8 assists per contest. Galloway is joined in the backcourt by a pair of talented guards in Tyreek Duren (14.5 ppg, 3.4 apg) and Tyrone Garland (12.0 ppg.)
Fran Dunphy will be coaching against his alma mater once again as his Owls look for their fourth win in five games. Temple outlasted Massachusetts on Saturday for a hard-fought, 83-82 road victory. The win upped the Owls to a 17-8 overall standing and a 6-5 A-10 record. As per usual, Khalif Wyatt led the way by netting 17 of his 24 points in the second half. Wyatt is leading the A-10 in scoring at 19.8 ppg and is seventh in assists with 4.0 per tilt.
Temple has won the last seven meetings with La Salle and leads the series 72-40. The Owls owns a 9-1 record in games played against the Explorers at the Liacouras Center. La Salle's last win in the series however, came in the arena, 70-63, on Feb. 26, 2009.
Duren led the La Salle charge against SJU with a game-high 29 points thanks to his accurate, 5-of-6 showing from beyond the arc. Galloway registered a double-double of 16 points and 12 assists while Jerrell Wright posted 10 points and seven boards. The Explorers assisted 22 of their 28 makes from the field and shot a red-hot 62.2 percent while limiting the Hawks to 53.1 percent efficiency from the floor. La Salle has the third most productive unit in the conference offensively with an average of 72.2 ppg and it is only three slots lower on the defensive end where it gives up 64.6 ppg.
Wyatt was joined in double figures versus UMass by four of his teammates. Anthony Lee (14 points, seven rebounds), Scootie Randall (11 points) and Jake O'Brien (10 points) all added solid performances while Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson had 11 rebounds, 10 points and eight assists. Temple connected on 48.4 percent of its field goal tries including 12-of-22 from beyond the arc. Hollis- Jefferson came up with a clutch defensive play as he stripped the Minutemen's Chaz Williams in the closing seconds which prevented UMass from attempting a game-winning shot before the buzzer.
Although the Explorers are riding a wave of momentum and Temple has been suspect at best this season, it is going to be a very difficult evening for the Explorers. The Owls tend to play to the level of their competition and Wyatt matches up quite well with Galloway. Duren will need to continue his stellar play to keep La Salle's winning streak alive.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Temple 74, La Salle 71
02/21 10:31:14 ET