My look at some of the best and worst performances and moments from Temple’s 76-70 victory over La Salle Wednesday night at the Liacouras Center:
Best player of the game: Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson soared over the Explorers. Shooting 7 for 11 from the field, the Temple junior forward scored a career-high 19 points. He added seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks while playing the entire 40 minutes. Hollis-Jefferson had been a role player, who took an offensive backseat to the Owls guards earlier in the season. But Chester High graduate provided a reminder of how much he's improved on the offensive end.
Best bounce back game: Juan Fernandez had three nightmarish weeks. But on Wednesday, he showed glimpses of his former self. The Temple senior point guard finished with 12 points, a game-high five assists, five rebounds and three turnovers in 29 minutes. He was near perfect from the foul line, making 5 of 6. This game was a big improvement from scoring just two points in each of the Owls’ previous two games on a combined 2 for 19 shooting. On Wednesday, Fernandez looked nothing like a guy that combined to shoot 27 percent over the previous five games. Now, the key for him is consistency.
Worst moment: A few morons in La Salle’s student section chanted “Taco Bell” as Fernandez made a pair of foul shots with 2 minutes, 5 seconds left. Fernandez is from Argentina. The chant was classless, racist and ignorant. To his credit, Fernandez ignored the students. Prior to that, the students chanted ‘U-S-A’ whenever Fernandez touched the ball.
Best bounce back, mid-game edition: Devon White suffered a scary moment after being fouled by Temple reserve guard Aaron Brown underneath the Owls basket with 10:29 before intermission. The Explorers backup post player’s head crashed on the court. After going to the locker room for testing, he re-entered the game with 44 seconds left in the half. Showing no signs of the injury, White delivered a powerful two-handed dunk to pull La Salle within a point with 3:25 remaining. He fouled out late. But White finished with four points, four rebounds, a block, a steal, an assist and a turnover in 16 quality minutes.
Worst defensive effort: Since it wouldn’t be fair to single out one player, this award goes to the Explorers as a whole. Temple shot 58.3 percent in the second half, and 51.9 percent for the game. During one stretch, the Owls were able to do whatever they wanted. It wasn’t supposed to be that easy. La Salle entered the game ranked in the top 40 nationally in field-goal percentage defense (35th at 39.1 percent). You wouldn’t have known that Wednesday night.