Temple Basketball Travels Up Broad Street To Battle La Salle

Temple Owls (15-5, 5-2 Atlantic 10) @ La Salle Explorers (11-11, 3-4)
7:00 PM February 2, 2011
Tom Gola Arena Philadelphia, PA

ALL-TIME
Temple leads the series 67-40 and has won 10 of the last 13 contests. The Owls are 11-3 at the Tom Gola Arena.

LAST TIME
2/28/2010
- Juan Fernandez (23) and Lavoy Allen (17) combined for 40 of Temple's 65 points in their victory over the Explorers. La Salle had a 33-32 lead heading into the break but the Cherry and White started the second half with an 18-0 run that cemented an outright Big 5 Championship. Aaric Murray had a quiet night as he registered just 10 points and three rebounds in 23 minutes.

HEAD COACHES
Temple

Fran Dunphy
Record at Temple: 99-54 (5th season)
All-Time Record: 409-217 (21st season)

La Salle
Dr. John Giannini
Record at La Salle: 94-108 (7th season)
All-Time Record: 391-257 (22nd season)

TOP PERFORMERS
Temple

PPG: G Ramone Moore - 14.8
RPG: F Lavoy Allen - 6.6
APG: G Juan Fernandez - 3.8

La Salle
PPG: C Aaric Murray - 15.3
RPG: C Aaric Murray - 8.1
APG: G- Tyreke Duren - 4.4

PROBABLE STARTERS
Temple
Lavoy Allen F - 10.6 ppg. 6.6 rpg. 1.7 bpg.
Scootie Randall F - 10.5 ppg 4.8 rpg. .497 fg%
Micheal Eric F - 6.9 ppg. 5.8 rpg. 1.6 bpg.
Juan Fernandez G - 10.4 ppg. 3.3 rpg. 3.8 apg.
Ramone Moore G - 14.8 ppg. 4.6 rpg. 3.0 apg

La Salle
Tyreek Duren G - 9.4 ppg. 2.7 rpg. 4.4 apg.
Ruben Guillandeaux G - 12.8 ppg. 3.0 rpg. 2.8 apg.
Earl Pettis G - 10.1 ppg. 3.8 rpg. 2.6 apg.
Jerrell Williams F - 14.3 ppg. 7.8 rpg. 1.5 apg.
Aaric Murray C - 15.3 ppg. 8.1 rpg. 2.2bpg

LAST OUTING
Temple (72-54 victory over Saint Joe's)

From the Associated Press:

Scootie Randall scored 17 points, Lavoy Allen had a double-double and Temple kept Saint Joesph's winless in conference play in a 72-54 rout on Saturday at the Palestra.

Allen finished with 15 points on 7 of 10 shooting, grabbed 12 rebounds and had four assists for the Owls (15-5, 5-2 Atlantic 10). Ramone Moore had 10 points and dished out eight assists.

Temple never trailed against the Hawks (5-16, 0-7), pulling ahead by 13 points on a 3-pointer from Randall -- who also had seven rebounds. The Owls went into halftime a 32-22 lead then pushed their margin to 19 on T.J. DiLeo's 3-pointer with 13:23 left in the second half.

La Salle (91-86 double overtime victory at Charlotte)
From the Associated Press:

Tyreek Duren scored six of his 12 points in the second overtime as La Salle rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit to beat Charlotte 91-86 on Saturday night.

Jerrell Williams and Earl Pettis had 17 points each, Aaric Murray added 16 points and Ruben Guillandeaux had 12 for the Explorers (11-11, 3-4 Atlantic 10 Conference), who won their third straight game.

THE MATCHUP
Heading into the season this is one of the matchups I had circled as a tough game for the Owls. While the two squads are in completely different leagues when it comes to discipline and team defense, the Explorers do have something that most other conference foes lack - size across the board. The Explorers have some big guards - something that Temple has come to be known for over the years as well - and four regulars who are 6-8 or taller. As is always the case with the Owls, Lavoy Allen and Micheal Eric must stay out of foul trouble as having one or both of them on the bench for an extended period of time could be very damaging.

If you look simply at La Salle offensive numbers you can't help but be impressed by what they are doing in Olney: 26th in the nation in scoring (78.0 ppg.), 31st in rebounding (39.0 rpg.), 45th in assists (15.4 apg.) and 86th in field goal percentage (.458). They collectively shoot roughly 38 percent from beyond the arc and are paced individually by freshmen Sam Mills (46.9 percent) and Cole Stefan (42.9 percent).

Defensively they allow 78.5 points per game and opponents thus far have connected on nearly 45 percent of their field goals. One sentiment that has been repeated ad nauseam this season by observers of the program is that the Explorers play an undisciplined and unfocused style of basketball. Dr. John Giannini told KYW that he believes his team is more focused and playing better defensively and cited the fact that Charlotte shot in the 30s against them. 86 points is 86 points, though.

PREDICTION
Like I said earlier, I think this is going to be a tough game for Temple. La Salle is doing everything they can to pack their gym with Explorers fans and students so it could be a bit of a hostile environment. Temple certainly has more talent than La Salle but the Explorers are capable of playing up to their level of competition as evidenced by some of their early non-conference games against BCS league opponents. In the end I think Temple takes this game after a late run that creates a bit of a cushion for them. Temple 74, La Salle 65

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