La Salle defeats reeling Temple
Big Five rivals don’t require the presence of the ESPN College Game Day crew to get their juices flowing, but the network gave the rest of the country the opportunity to see the emotion that flowed at the Palestra Saturday as La Salle finally defeated Temple, 74-68.
The Explorers (11-6) had lost eight straight to the Owls (5-11), whose losing streak reached six games. La Salle fought off a furious comeback attempt by Temple and didn’t clinch the win until senior guard Tyreek Duren hit two free throws with 15.6 seconds to go to give them a 72-68 lead.
Duren finished with 20 points and seven assists. Steve Zack had 10 points and pulled down 16 rebounds for the Explorers. Quentin DeCosey scored 21 for Temple, which didn’t lead in the second half of a game for the first time this season. Anthony Lee had 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Owls.
Temple’s task was made more difficult when it became apparent early in the game they would have to play without guard Will Cummings, their floor leader and second-leading scorer.
With such a shallow bench, Temple showed signs of fatigue midway through the second half. La Salle took advantage and built a one-point lead to 11 with 10 minutes to go. La Salle closed a back-and-forth first half with a 10-0 surge to take a 36-31 lead at the break.
Tyrone Garland and Tyreek Duren each nailed three-pointers during the run. It was the Explorers’ response to a torrid five-minute stretch by Temple, when the Owls hit seven consecutive shots and scored on eight straight possessions to turn a shaky start into a five-point lead.
Dalton Pepper found his sweet long-range stroke and connected for three three-pointers in a row before La Salle coach John Giannini made an adjustment by pulling D.J. Peterson off the bench and matching him against Temple’s leading scorer. Pepper didn’t score during the nine minutes Peterson was in the game in the first half.
Cummings suffered concussion-like symptoms after a collision in the first half of a Jan. 9 game against South Florida. He sat out the second half of that game, played sparingly against Memphis, then stayed home for precautionary reasons when Temple played at Cincinnati Tuesday.