Fran Dunphy got his most productive starting lineup on the court for the first time this season and the Owls played one of their best defensive games in Dunphy's tenure, winning at Penn State, 65-59, and holding the Nittany Lions 18 points below their scoring average. Temple (4-3) also held Penn State (7-2) to 34.6 percent shooting.
If you had said before Saturday's game that Dionte Christmas would not score for the game's first 35 minutes and finish with two points, you probably would not have picked the Owls to win. But everybody else who played gave Temple something, especially Semaj Inge, who had a career-high 19 points, to go along with six assists, five rebounds and four steals.
"He can't play any better," Dunphy said.
Temple went with a point guard by committee, as former starting point guard Luis Guzman came off the bench. Dunphy got big men Lavoy Allen and Sergio Olmos into the starting lineup together for the first time this season, after first Olmos and then Allen was injured.
Allen had 11 points, 10 rebounds and three of Temple's 10 blocked shots, as the anchor of a very strong interior defense. Ryan Brooks had all 15 of his points in the second half and did a terrific defensive job on Penn State point guard Talor Battle, who had to work hard for his 19 points.
Battle's very quick running mate, Stanley Pringle, went out with a sprained ankle after 10 minutes and never returned. By the time Pringle went out, Temple had established its defense and gotten a lead it never gave up.
Saint Joseph's finally got to play a game on this season's home court, the Palestra. Even though a nice crowd of 6,418 appeared, the Hawks got way behind and, despite a strong, late run, lost, 69-58.
St. Joe's (3-4) trailed, 58-37, with 7 1/2 minutes left and actually had a chance to get within 61-57 with 57 seconds left. But a layup attempt stayed out and the Blue Jays (5-2) made their free throws down the stretch.
Statistically, this game was not difficult to understand. Creigh-ton was 13-for-28 from the arc, St. Joe's 2-for-15. That is 39-6 on the scoreboard and way too much to overcome.
Ahmad Nivins had 18 points and 11 rebounds, but for the first time in memory the Hawks don't have dependable long-range shooters. That hurts in obvious ways. It also hurts Nivins' effectiveness as defenses can help off shooters to surround him in the post. The Hawks are shooting 28.2 percent from the arc.
Creighton's Booker Woodfox, who had been averaging 13.3 points, went off for 29, including 7-for-9 from three-point land.
Drexel looked out of it in its Colonial Athletic Association opener against George Mason. The Dragons trailed by 17 points with 15 minutes left, but actually had a chance to win it at the buzzer.
George Mason (6-2, 1-0 CAA) ended up winning, 56-55, but it got crazy late. Trailing by three in the final seconds, with his coaches imploring him to shoot a three, Drexel's Scott Rodgers drove to the basket where GMU's Darryl Monroe clotheslined him with 2.7 seconds left. An intentional foul was called, which gave Drexel two free throws and the ball. Rodgers made both foul shots, and then Evan Neisler (14 points, 11 rebounds) had a chance to win it for Drexel (2-2, 0-1). His shot bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
La Salle could probably play any team in the country and part of the result would be known before the game. The game would be decided by 10 points or less.
The Explorers are talented enough to hang with some very good teams and inconsistent enough to keep teams with less talent in the game.
La Salle (4-3) overcame an eight-point first-half deficit at Hartford, led by 13 in the second half and beat the Hawks, 70-64.
La Salle shot 51.1 percent and crushed the Hawks (3-6) on the glass, 37-25. Kimmani Barrett had all 14 of his points in the second half for La Salle. Rodney Green also had 14.