Skip to content
Our Archives
Link copied to clipboard

Temple has no defense for 'Nova

The good news for everyone at the Liacouras Center for a rare Sunday night Big 5 tussle was the 93 points scored by Temple got them a free taco at a local restaurant.

The good news for everyone at the Liacouras Center for a rare Sunday night Big 5 tussle was the 93 points scored by Temple got them a free taco at a local restaurant.

The flip side, at least for the home crowd, was that the 101 points put up by Villanova was the most ever for an opponent in the building.

Is that any way to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of what originally was the Forum at the Apollo of Temple?

When Fran Dunphy was winning Ivy League titles at Penn, the Quakers once went 7-1 against the rest of the Big 5 in a two-season span. He played at La Salle. He understands what it's all about.

Last season, his first on North Broad Street, the Owls were 1-7 against the other five Division I teams in the city, counting a loss to Drexel. Which happens to be their next opponent, Saturday at the Palestra.

"It's frustrating," said senior Mark Tyndale, who led the Owls with 24 points. "I don't have many more of these games left. It's for bragging rights over the summer. This would have been a big win for us, and big for the Atlantic 10.

"I think the Big 5 is the best rivalries in all of college basketball, I really do. I'm glad to be a part of it. I was on the team that beat Villanova [as a freshman]. It would have been great to do it again."

That was Tyndale's first Big 5 game. The Wildcats, of course, haven't lost another since then (Dec. 4, 2004, at the Palestra). It's now officially a historical streak of 13 straight wins against Big 5 rivals. But for a little over a half, it looked like the Owls (4-5) might be in an upset mode. Then a close one turned into a rout, at least until the Owls made it respectable with a run of their own near the end.

Right now, Dunphy basically has a seven-man squad. Villanova simply has more bullets to fire. It's ranked for a reason.

"[Temple] can really score," Wildcats coach Jay Wright said. "They have some answers offensively."

It is, however, a two-ended game.

"They had great firepower, and our defense was wanting," Dunphy explained. "The bottom line was, we weren't good enough to win tonight.

"I'm frustrated. Again, I think we're making some progress. But we have to get better at that end of the floor. That's [the] disappointing [part]."

On Nov. 29, the Owls gave up 88 here but still beat Ohio University on a last-second three-pointer by Chris Clark. This was the first time they've given up triple figures since 1993, when Wake Forest beat them by 37 in McGonigle Hall. That team, it should be noted, made it to the Final Eight, where it nearly beat Michigan's Fab Five.

This is just the sixth time in Temple history that an opponent has reached the century mark.

With games coming up at Florida and against Duke at the Wachovia Center, this team is just trying to be as ready as possible by the time the A-10 portion of the schedule finally kicks in on Jan. 12 at Charlotte.

"I come away with a positive feeling about this team and our players," Dunphy stressed. "We played a very good offensive team. So we have to go back to the drawing board a little bit."

Five Temple players scored at least 12. Both Luis Guzman (13), who's gone from zero playing time a year ago to the starting lineup, and Ryan Brooks (22 in 29 minutes off the bench) had career highs. The team still commits too many turnovers (17), but shot 51.7 percent from the field, held its own on the boards and got to the foul line. Against a lot of teams it will face, it might have been enough. This was not a lot of teams.

"We have to do a better job of stopping those guys," Tyndale said. "We didn't match their intensity at all in the second half. We just fell too far behind.

"We tried our best, but they had a great lead. We kept fighting, but it's tough." *