A little Palestra magic

Three days after a frustrating 58-56 Big Five loss to St. Joe’s, the Temple men’s basketball team won a city series thriller on Saturday afternoon, holding off La Salle, 58-57, at the Palestra. “It was a gut-check game,” said Temple coach Fran Dunphy, whose Owls improved to 5-3 on the season and 2-1 in the Big Five.

Three days after a frustrating 58-56 Big Five loss to St. Joe’s, the Temple men’s basketball team won a city series thriller on Saturday afternoon, holding off La Salle, 58-57, at the Palestra.

“It was a gut-check game,” said Temple coach Fran Dunphy, whose Owls improved to 5-3 on the season and 2-1 in the Big Five.

The Owls, who have struggled to hit shots in the early part of the season, drained 7 of their first 13 and took a 12-point lead in the first half on Saturday. The lead was down to 6 at the half and the Explorers surged ahead four minutes into the second half.

But the Owls quickly went back on top with four points from Mark Williams and held the lead the rest of the game – but it wasn’t easy as La Salle stayed within striking distance.

Temple was able to put the game away from the foul line, going 18-of-20 from the stripe, while also finishing 6-of-11 on 3s. Quenton DeCosey was 8-o-f-9 from the free-throw line and 3-of-3 on 3s for a game-high 19 points.

Jaylen Bond has continued to make an impact off the bench, scoring 11 points – including a key basket off an air ball – grabbing five rebounds and totaling five steals and four assists without a turnover.

“I just found my spots, found my teammates,” said Bond, who was often matched up on La Salle big man Jerrel Wright (15 points, eight rebounds). “They were physical, I was just physical back. I didn’t let (Wright) get easy shots.”

The game – in front of 7,445 fans – was the second in a two-part series with La Salle where the schools agreed to move their home games to the Palestra.

“I looked up in the second half, it was pretty loud and the corners were full,” said Dupnhy. “Smarter people than me (will decide if more games will be moved to the Palestra). There’s finances, home court advantages … We have a pretty nice place on campus as well.

“They’ll weigh their options. Sometimes you do things for the greater good, but it will be an administrative decision.”

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