PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- A classic Big Five matchup, as any at The Palestra is, Wednesday night's showdown between the Temple Owls (4-4) and the Penn Quakers (4-5) saw the visiting Owls snatch a close-as-ever four-point win to improve to 4-4.
The Quakers once again made their surge just too late.
Penn Unable To Overtake Temple In Tight Finish
Down 68-56 with just two and a half minutes to go, Antonio Woods led Penn back into the game, scoring nine of his 22 points in those final two minutes of action to close the game to within one possession.
"This game, I wanted to just focus on getting my teammates involved," answered Woods when VAVEL USA asked about his increased role in clutch time as of late. "So they instilled their trust in me, and I instilled my trust in them."
A tip-in by Darien Nelson-Henry closed Temple's lead to 70-67 with 30 seconds to go, free throws nearly becoming the undoing of the Owls' victory after a pair of one-and-one misses on consecutive possessions to allow Penn into the game. However, Temple tightened up their shooting to finish by hitting the final five free throws to hold off a fierce series of drives and scores by Woods and pull out the 77-73 win.
By The Numbers
Josh Brown went 4-4 from the line in the final minute, and he was a big presence for Temple, recording 10 points, a career-high nine assists, and six rebounds. Quentin DeCosey led the Owls with 22 points and six boards, his third 20-plus-point game of the season, and Jaylen Bond added a double-double of 12 points and ten boards alongside him.
"Every kid can score," Penn coach Steve Donahue said of what makes Temple such a quality team. "There's no bad players."
For Penn, Woods was the impact player, dropping 22 points along with seven assists and just one giveaway. Additionally, Jackson Donahue (no relation to coach Steve Donahue) had a bit of a breakout game, hitting four of eight threes to finish with 12 points. DNH had a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds on just six shots, but he did turn the ball over five times, housed in the paint by the Owls' big men.
The Quakers were outmuscled inside throughout, and that severely crippled their chances at high percentage points. 30 of their 55 field goal attempts came from beyond the arc, and overall the team was out-rebounded 34-23, with Temple grabbing nine second-chance points off 10 offensive boards.
Penn's next matchup - after a 10-day study break - will be against Ursinis on Saturday, December 19th at 2:30 PM EST. Temple has another important Big 5 matchup coming up this Sunday, the 13th, as the Owls host St. Joseph's for a 4:00 PM EST tip.
Now on a four-game losing skid, Penn must take the time to evaluate what's been working in order to regain momentum for their Ivy League season.