PHILADELPHIA, PA. 12/9/2015 – With just over a minute to play the Temple Owls took an 11-point lead on a layup by forward Jaylen Bond. The lead seemed comfortable, but this was a Big Five game. The University of Pennsylvania went on a 12 – 3 run to pull to within two points at the 8 second mark. Then Temple guard Josh Brown sunk four three throws down the stretch to allow the Owls to leave the Palestra with a 77 – 73 win.
In that hectic last minute Penn got two three-pointers and two layups that went along with three Temple misses from the foul line. The Quakers Antonio Woods hit two short jumpers keeping his team in proximity, but Brown found the range from the free throw line and the Owls survived.
“We missed three straight one-and one’s, but Josh Brown stepped up,” Temple Coach Fran Dunphy said about how his team weathered the storm. “He (Brown) is going to be there often at the end of games. We needed this. We needed the win, but we needed to be challenged like we were down the stretch.”
The Owls had the lead for most of the game. When they got some separation, the Quakers closed it back. For the game Temple scored 1.18 points per possession (PPP) while Penn had a 1.07 mark. In the first half the Cherry and White posted 1.23 PPP compared to .86 for the Red and Blue. The Quakers turned that around in the second half 1.33 to 1.14. It came down to Penn did not have enough time to get more possessions.
Temple finished shooting 50% from the floor (27 of 54) and made 7 of 18 from deep. Quenton DeCosey led the Cherry and White with 22 points as he made 7 of 12.
“Down the stretch I want to be the guy to take the big shots, make the big plays,” DeCosey said. “Me and Jalen (Bond) being the leaders have to make the big plays.”
Bond registered a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Brown filled the stat sheet with 10 points, a career-high 9 assists and 6, rebounds.
Woods scored a career-high 22 points for Penn and also set a career-mark with 7 assists. He felt the energy of the crowd especially late in the game.
“There is nothing like the Palestra when it is loud and rockin’,” said Woods. “On the floor is was a whole new kind of energy, kind of like a second wind.”
Center Darien Nelson-Henry posted double figures in points with 11 and added 10 rebounds. Penn shot 52.7% and made 10 of 30 free throws. Freshman guard Jackson Donahue made 4 of 8 from distance in setting a career-mark with 12 points.
“It was a great Big Five game,” said Penn Coach Steve Donahue. “I’m proud of how hard we played and how hard we competed. We played with confidence, never took a step back even when it got to eleven. The program is making great growth.”
The Owls are 4 – 4 on the season and are 1 – 0 in Big Five play. They’ll resume city series play at home on Sunday against Saint Joseph’s. Penn drops to 4 – 5 and evened their city record at 1 – 1. The Quakers get 10 days off before facing Ursinus on December 19.
Written By: Glenn Papazian