Briere Leads All-Snubs to Win Over Sabres

Briere Leads All-Snubs to Win Over Sabres

The talk of the day heading into the Flyers' first game of the season's second half  centered on how only one player from the top team in the Eastern Conference was named an All-Star. While we were all happy to see Claude Giroux get some league-wide acknowledgement, especially after he was left off the All-Star ballot, there are plenty of guys worthy of the nod on this roster. It didn't take long for them to show it, either. 
Danny Briere was a popular choice for biggest snub, with Mike Richards and Kimmo Timonen not far behind him. How about Sergei Bobrovsky among the rookie All-Star selections (see comments)? Well each of those guys played their asses off in a more meaningful game Tuesday night, with Briere leading them to a 5-2 win over his former club in Buffalo. Scott Hartnell wasn't in the All-Star discussion, but he continued his resurgent season by notching a Gordie Howe Hat Trick. 

Highlights and video below. 

It was a rough start for the Flyers, who were outplayed heavily in the first 10 minutes of the game and for stretches of the second period as well. Bob gave up a pair early, although he was playing behind sloppy defense and was caught off guard by a bad bounce off the back boards. Kid hadn't played since New Year's Eve, so it wasn't too surprising that he got off to a sluggish start. But he recovered quickly and shut out the Sabres for the remaining 50 minutes, with 38 saves overall. 

Briere tied a career-best four points, which had to feel a little better coming against his former squad. He scored a loud top-shelf goal and added three assists, and his line was once again the best on the ice, accounting for four of the team's five goals.

Hartnell had a Gordie Howe Hat Trick, scoring a pair including the empty netter, assisting on another, and fighting Paul Gaustad, and Ville Leino was credited with a goal that bounced in off his skate as he skidded to a stop in front of Ryan Miller while being obstructed. The play was reviewed, but quickly upheld. 

Richie had a good night as well, beginning with an "assist" that won't show up on the scoresheet. With the Flyers on the powerplay in the first period, he absolutely ROCKED Jochen Hecht, opening up a lane for Briere to send a sweet touch pass to Timonen, who put one on goal where a screening Hartnell would deflect it in. The Captain's encore would come on a brilliant breakaway move to beat one of the best goaltenders in the game. 

Highlights below, followed by some celebratory extras: 

•Through two contests this season, the Flyers have hung NINE goals on Ryan Miller. [/Lindy Ruff face]
•With Leino's goal, the Flyers now have eight players with double-digit goals. 
•Scott Hartnell's pair of tallies tied his season total of 14 from last season. 
•Andrej Meszaros added to his league-leading +/- total with a plus-2 on the night. Ville Leino was also a plus-2, and he's now third in the league in the category.
•Anthony SanFilippo pointed out before the game that the Flyers are 6-0-0 when Nik Zherdev is scratched. Make that 7. Not many teams can afford to be without one of their most talented scorers, but the Flyers aren't most teams. 
•The Flyers won 33 faceoffs and lost 22. That helps. 
•JVR scored in the third period, but the goal was waved off due to a high stick by Giroux. It was an amazing play by both guys though, with JVR knocking the pass down, juggling it with the toe of his skate, and knocking it in out of mid-air. 
•The Flyers are now three points ahead of the Penguins for the division and conference lead, and they've played two fewer games. 
•The tough four-games-in-six-days road trip continues with games in Boston on Thursday, Atlanta on Friday, and New York on Sunday. 

(AP Photo/David Duprey)

Instant Replay: Central Florida 71, Temple 69

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Instant Replay: Central Florida 71, Temple 69

BOX SCORE

Temple and UCF went for punch-for-punch in the final two minutes, and the Owls missed their final swing in a 71-69 loss Wednesday at the Liacouras Center.

Down by one with 20 seconds left, Temple fouled Tacko Fall to attempt a one-and-one. The 7-6 center, who is a 47 percent free throw shooter, missed a and Temple gained possession. 

Temple had a chance to gain the lead on the ensuing possession out of the timeout, but Mark Williams missed a wide-open three-pointer from the wing. 

The loss is Temple's fourth in five games and forces them to 14-15 on the year and 5-11 against AAC opponents. Meanwhile, UCF won for the third straight time to improve to 18-10 (9-7 AAC).

Temple head coach Fran Dunphy has only finished with a record under .500 twice since becoming the Owls’ head coach in 2006.

Ding ding
Midway through the second half, Matt Williams threw an elbow at Shizz Alston Jr. that left the Temple freshman on the floor and a bloody lip. Alston followed by getting in Williams' face as the refs separated the two from each other. 

The refs ruled the elbow by Williams a basketball play and no foul was called.

Williams and Alston were involved in another scuffle at the scorer’s table after Alston got a steal. Williams shoved Alston and was called for his first personal foul as the two again had to be separated. 

Inside the box score
• Fall finished the game with 14 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks and two assists in the contest.

• After finishing the first half 0 for 3 from the field, Obi Enechionyia caught fire for the Owls by shooting 5 of 6 from downtown in the second half. The junior led the Owls in scoring with 17 points. He also had five rebounds, two assists and a steal.

• Temple shot 47.6 from beyond the arc. The Owls are 6-3 this season when they shoot ball 40 percent or better from three-point land.

• B.J. Taylor finished the game with 19 points, three rebounds and three assists. It's the 10th consecutive game he scored in double figures this season. 

• Mark Williams scored 11 points on 5 of 11 shooting off the bench.

Temple's starting lineup
For the fourth straight game, Dunphy went with the same starting lineup featuring Damion Moore instead of Ernest Aflakpui and Quinton Rose instead of Alani Moore II.

The Owls are 1-3 with this lineup so far. 

After scoring a career-high 11 points on 5 of 5 shooting against UConn on Sunday, Moore finished with two points against UCF. 

First half
Temple had a hard time avoiding the 7-6 big man, Fall, in the first half. Fall had six points, three rebounds and four blocks. But he also picked up two quick fouls, forcing him to the bench at the 4:23 mark.

While Fall watched from the bench, Temple's offense found some rhythm. 

Temple went on a 15-3 run toward the end of the first half as UCF hit only two field goals in the final eight minutes of the frame.

Rose led the Owls with eight points in the first half, while Alston Jr. and Mark Williams each had seven points.

The Owls finished the first half shooting the ball 46.9 percent from the field. That tripled their amount of points in the first half the last time they faced UCF. They finished with only 11 points in the first half in their first meeting Dec. 31.

What's next
Temple will play its final home game of the season against Tulane on Saturday at noon.

UCF will face Cincinnati at the CFE Center Sunday at 3 p.m.

Report: Bulls continuing trade push for Jahlil Okafor

Report: Bulls continuing trade push for Jahlil Okafor

The Bulls are apparently still after Jahlil Okafor.

Chicago has continued its trade push for the Sixers’ big man, according to a report Wednesday night by The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski.

In early February, the Bulls inquired about Okafor, according to a report by CSNChicago.com.

With Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline nearing, the clock is ticking on the Sixers’ possible trade of Okafor, who will get moved” by the mandatory cutoff date, according to NBA.com’s David Aldridge on Tuesday.

The Sixers already have one trade nearly completed. They are currently finalizing a deal that will send Ersan Ilyasova to the Atlanta Hawks, a league source confirmed to CSNPhilly.com Sixers Insider Jessica Camerato on Wednesday night (see story).

With Okafor, aside from the Bulls, other teams have reportedly expressed interest in the second-year center, including the Pacers, Blazers and Pelicans (who are expected to be out of the running after landing DeMarcus Cousins).

Okafor is averaging 11.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 23 minutes per game this season over 38 contests. Last season, he played 53 games (48 starts) as a rookie and averaged 17.5 points and seven rebounds.

The 21-year-old has taken all the trade buzz in stride.

“Trade rumors are something that’s going to be part of my life probably for as long as I’m in the NBA," Okafor said on Feb. 4 after the Bulls’ reported interest originally surfaced. "I’ve been hearing it since I’ve been in the NBA about me being traded. I just try to focus on what I can. That’s being here on this team and trying to help this team win.”