My look at some of the best and worst performances and happenings from Temple’s 82-74 victory over La Salle Thursday night at the Liacouras Center:
Best performance: I guess a big congratulations should go out to Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson. The Temple power forward became the first person not named Khalif Wyatt to win this award in five games. The 6-foot-6 senior made 9 of 14 shots en route to finishing with career highs of 23 points and 18 rebounds. He also had a game-high five assists to go with one block and two turnovers in 34 minutes.
Worst performance: Since it’s hard single out one Explorer, I’m giving this award to La Salle as an unit. The Explorers sure didn’t look a squad in contention for an Atlantic Ten title. They couldn’t make first-half shots. They couldn’t get any meaningful rebounds. And they sure as heck couldn’t stop the Owls from scoring. The 82 points they surrenders Thursday were the most they gave up all season.
Best defensive performance: This could have been awarded to a number of Temple players. But I gave it to reserve guard T.J. DiLeo. The graduate student blocked a shot and recorded a steal in 21 minutes. He was also part of the guard tandem that limited La Salle’s leader scorers – Ramon Galloway and Tyreek Duren – to 9-for-25 shooting.
Best performance by an Explorer: Some could argue that Galloway (18 points, 10 rebounds) or Duren (16 points) deserved this award for scoring the most points. But like I said, they combined for just 9-for-25 shooting. So I gave it to Sam Mills. The junior guard finished with 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting. He also had a game-high three steals on a night when his teammates had a tough time defending.
Worst statistic: The Explorers missed 14 of their final 15 shot attempts of the first half. That put La Salle in a deep hole it couldn’t fully recover from.
Best statistic: This award goes to Temple’s rebounding advantage. The Owls had a 42-27 edge. Hollis-Jefferson had as many offensive rebounds (seven) as La Salle’s players combined (seven).
Worst of the Worst: The first-half shooting by Galloway and Tyrone Garland. Galloway, a Big 5 player-of-the-year candidate, made just 1 of 8 shots during the first 20 minutes. Garland was 1-for-7.
Best of the Best: This had to go to the Liacouras Center atmosphere. This place was electric. It was also the scene of an Owls’ homecoming as former players Nate Blackwell, Tim Perry and Ramone Moore were among the 10,206 in attendance.