Gamecenter: Temple 74, Penn 76

1st 2nd Final
Temple (7-11) 41 33 74
Penn (11-6, 2-0 Ivy) 33 43 76
The Palestra – Philadelphia, PA Boxscore
Postgame audio (courtesy of the Daily Pennsylvanian)
Temple: Fran Dunphy
Penn: Glen Miller, Ibby Jaaber, and Mark Zoller
Keys to the Game
Key sequence After Penn fell behind 38-19 with under four minutes left in the first half, Steve Danley found a cutting Ibby Jaaber for a two-handed dunk. Danley then came up with a steal and Brian Grandieri drilled a three-pointer, then dished to Jaaber for a layup just over a minute later to cut the deficit to 12. Two Jaaber free throws, a conventional three-point play by the Penn point guard, and another Jaaber bucket and foul brought the Quakers to within five. It looked like Penn would head into halftime on a 14-0 run, but following a Jaaber blocking foul with 1.9 seconds left that gave Temple new life, Dionte Christmas sank a long three-pointer at the buzzer to send the Owls into the locker room with a 41-33 lead.
Key sign it was over Christmas scored the last of his 34 points on a stepback jumper from the wing that put the Owls on top with 6.9 seconds left, and the Quakers pushed the ball up the court. Jaaber found himself caught in traffic at the top of the key and passed off to Mark Zoller. Zoller went up for a three-pointer and was able to lean in and draw contact from Dion Dacons, getting the whistle with 1.4 seconds on the clock. Zoller coolly drained all three free throws to give Penn a 76-74 lead. The Owls weren’t able to get off a desperation shot at the buzzer, and Penn escaped with the comeback win.
Key performance Zoller had a big night with a double-double, finishing with 19 points — on 6-for-12 shooting — to go with 10 rebounds. The Penn senior recorded 12 of his 19 points in the final eight minutes and scored on Penn’s final two possessions, getting a key runner in the lane on and inbounds play with 22 seconds left that temporarily put Penn on top, then hitting the deciding free throws.
Key statistic Temple had taken outstanding care of the ball entering Wednesday’s game, but Penn forced 18 turnovers while committing only 9 itself. The Quakers took advantage of the turnover disparity, outscoring the Owls 22-9 in points off turnovers.

– Christmas scored a career-high 34 points to lead all scorers. The sophomore was on fire in the first half, hitting a number of tough looks with a hand in his face, and finished 11 of 15 from the field and a perfect 7-for-7 at the line.

– Jaaber missed his first seven field goal attempts, but caught fire to lead Penn’s big comeback, finishing with a team-high 21 points while dishing out seven assists.

– Grandieri also had a double-double for the Quakers with 16 points and 10 rebounds, adding four assists for good measure.

– The taller Quakers were held to just 33.3-percent offensive rebounding, while limiting Temple to 29.6 percent at its offensive end. Penn held an 18-11 edge in second-chance points.

– Penn opened the game hitting just 3 of its first 19 from the floor (15.8 percent), but shot 23 of 47 (48.9 percent) over the final 30:07.

– The game failed to sell out, with an announced crowd of just 6,103 for Fran Dunphy’s return to The Palestra.

– Penn will look to win its sixth straight and finish 3-1 in Big 5 play when it meets Saint Joseph’s (11-7) on Saturday, January 27 at 7:00 pm ET .

Daniel McQuade

Daniel McQuade wrote 21 posts

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