Fran Dunphy's old team showed plenty of fight against his current one, but in the end, Temple survived a late challenge from a scrappy Penn team.
With Quenton DeCosey bouncing back from his worst outing of the season to score 22 points, Temple defeated Penn, 77-73, in a Big Five game Wednesday night before 4,378 at the Palestra.
Temple is now 4-4 overall and 1-0 in the Big Five, while Penn fell to 4-5, 1-1. The Owls have beaten Penn in nine consecutive games.
Dunphy is in his 10th season at Temple after coaching 17 years at Penn.
First-year Penn coach Steve Donahue was an assistant to Dunphy at Penn for 10 seasons ending in 1999-2000, so there were deep ties between both coaches.
Penn trailed by as many as 12 in the second half, but cut the margin to two points, twice in the last eight seconds.
"We certainly needed the win but we needed to be challenged like this down the stretch," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said.
Penn received unexpected production from freshman guard Jackson Donahue (no relation to coach Steve Donahue).
Jackson Donahue had played 21 minutes and scored six points all season but he hit four second-half threes for 12 points to keep the Quakers in the game.
"It is definitely a confidence boost for me but I think all around the team effort tonight was incredible and we can will this carry forward," Jackson Donahue said.
Donahue's three with 50 seconds left cut Temple's margin to 70-65 and Penn would get closer.
Quakers guard Antonio Woods hit from close range to get Penn within 73-71 with eight seconds left before Temple's Josh Brown hit two free throws.
Woods, who had 22 points, then scored on a driving layup, but Brown sealed the win with two more free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining.
Besides Woods, senior center Darien Nelson-Henry had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Quakers.
"I thought our resolve was terrific," Steve Donahue said.
Brown had a career-high nine assists and just one turnover, to go along with 10 points and six rebounds in 38 minutes.
DeCosey was limited to three points on 1 for 6 shooting in Saturday's 76-60 loss at Wisconsin.
Looking to make amends, DeCosey came in with an aggressive mind-set and rediscovered his offensive game, which includes a number of shake-and-bake moves and a hard-to-block fallaway jumper.
He shot 7 of 12 from the field, 2 of 3 from beyond the arc and hit all six free throws.
"I just wanted to come out and be aggressive," DeCosey said.
Temple, which entered the game second in the nation in fewest turnovers (8.1 per game) committed 13.
Temple's Obi Enechionyia earned his second foul with 13:52 left in the first half and the Owls trailing, 11-9. He sat out the rest of the half, but the Owls led 38-30 at intermission.
Enechionyia didn't score in the first half but added 11 points in the second half. Temple senior forward Jaylen Bond had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Like everybody else on Temple, Bond had great admiration for Penn.
"They are a great team, like all big Five games this was a tough matchup for us," he said.
And the Owls have another on Sunday, when they host St. Joseph's at the Liacouras Center.