Instant Replay: Temple 82, La Salle 74

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Instant Replay: Temple 82, La Salle 74

BOX SCORE

So much for those one-point games.

Behind the best performance of senior forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson's college career, Temple cruised to an 82-74 win over La Salle at at the Liacouras Center Thursday night to claim a share of the Big 5 championship.

With both teams at 3-1 against the Big 5, Temple and La Salle will share the 2012-13 title. It's Temple's city-best 27th title dating back to 1955 and the third time in the last four seasons the Owls have won at least a share of the title.

For La Salle, it's just the first time the Explorers have won a share of the title since 1998. It would have been the program's first outright win since 1990, Lionel Simmons' senior year.

Instead, the Explorers fell to 18-7 overall and 8-4 in Atlantic 10 play, while Temple improved 18-8 and 7-5.

Turning point
What began as a tight game gave way to an 18-1 Temple run to close the first half, with the Owls ahead 39-25.

After leading 18-13, La Salle recorded just one field goal in the final 13 minutes of the half and one point in the final 7:54 on a Ramon Galloway foul shot with less than a minute remaining before the break. The Explorers opened 8 for 13 from the floor, and made only one of their next 15 attempts to finish the half 9 of 28 from the field and 2 of 9 from three.

Over the first five minutes of the second half, Temple actually stretched its lead to as much as 22 points. La Salle continued to chip away, cutting its deficit to as little as nine with 9:09 and 5:35 to play but never got any closer until the final buzzer. Sam Mills hit a three, Ramon Galloway stole the ball and hit a jumper as time expired to reduce the final margin to just eight.

B.M.O.C.
Hollis-Jefferson led all scorers and rebounders, setting two new career highs with 23 points and 17 rebounds for the fourth double-double of his college career. His nine field goals on 13 shots were also a season high.

In the race for the A-10 Player of the Year award, Temple's Khalif Wyatt bested Ramon Galloway with 17 points on 6-for-14 shooting. Galloway, by comparison, had no trouble getting to the rim, but just couldn't finish when he got there. He finished with an inefficient 14 points, going 7 of 9 from the line but a gross 3 of 14 from the floor.

Point guard Tyreek Duren led La Salle with 16 points.

Inside the box score
• Temple dominated the glass, out-rebounding La Salle 42-27 overall and 15-7 on the offensive end.

• Neither team shot well from three, going a combined 10 for 33.

• The Owls were also poor from the foul line, going 17 of 29 to La Salle's 15 of 19.

• Temple did, however, shoot 50 percent from the floor by game's end.

Next up
Both teams are off until Sunday afternoon. Temple will travel to Charlotte for a 4 p.m. meeting with the 49ers. Temple won the first meeting 89-88 at the Liacouras Center on Feb. 6. La Salle, meanwhile, heads north to Rhode Island for a 2 pm. tip with the Rams.

Drexel's Chris Crawford soaks up tradition at U.S. Open

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Drexel's Chris Crawford soaks up tradition at U.S. Open

ERIN, Wis. — The U.S. Open is all about tradition. This week is the 117th playing of golf's national championship and this event more than most celebrates those golfers who play the game as amateurs. 

Soon-to-be Drexel graduate Chris Crawford has been soaking up all the traditions this week at Erin Hills. Playing in his second U.S. Open after qualifying through both local and sectional competition for the second straight year, an extremely difficult feat, the 23-year-old fifth-year senior enjoyed the amateur dinner put on by the tournament organizers with the USGA. Crawford and his fellow amateurs, a stout list including Texas' Scottie Scheffler, who shot 3-under Thursday to seize the early low amateur lead, were celebrated the entire evening — one of Crawford's early highlights in a long week here in Wisconsin. 

Crawford produced a 3-over par 75 Thursday during the first round to tie for 102nd out of a field of 156 players.

"I played OK (Thursday)," Crawford said. "I'm going to take more positives than negatives out of the round. I played really well for 14 holes and just had a few bad swings on the other four holes."

Indeed, Thursday morning started nervously for the former Drexel golf standout. On the opening par-5 first hole, he snap-hooked his drive into the weeds out of bounds to the left, resulting in a double bogey. Three holes later, he chipped one shot over the back of the fourth green and took another double-bogey, placing him 4-over through four holes. 

Although bogeys might keep many of us alive in our weekend matches, it doesn't cut it in a U.S. Open. Crawford responded well in the ensuing 14 holes, going 1-under in that stretch.

Crawford's coach Mike Dynda, who teaches him at LuLu Country Club in Glenside, Pennsylvania, said he makes a big point to prepare Crawford's mind for his big rounds.

"I texted him last night and said, 'When you got to sleep, imagine that you're on the 18th hole and you have a putt for 9-under,'" Dynda said. "It's important to go to sleep and dream like that."

On the other side, Dynda — who taught the golf team at Drexel from 2003-2015 — also told his pupil to stay away from expectations. When you're 23 and you're playing in your second consecutive U.S. Open, one might think it would be easy to get ahead of yourself. Not so with Crawford, according to Dynda.

"I've taught him to not have any expectations for the five years we've been together," Dynda said. 

Crawford had a superstar practice round on Monday, playing with Jordan Spieth, Jim Furyk and Wisconsin's own Steve Stricker.

"It was a lot of fun playing with those guys and just watching them strategize about learning a brand new U.S. Open course," Crawford said. "I think that's the biggest thing I was impressed with, was the way they talked about strategy on this golf course.

"They were all very nice with me and were very specific to ask about me and they wanted to learn a little bit about my life, so I appreciated that."

For Dynda, talking with Furyk brought back a fond memory. Furyk's father, Mike, actually sold Dynda his first set of golf clubs, Tommy Armor 845s, back in Philadelphia years ago. 

With one round in the books and the forecast calling for rain this weekend, Crawford was looking forward to having the proper mentality as he headed into Friday's second round.

"I want to go out there and just not get ahead of myself," Crawford said. "I'm going to think positively and appreciate that I'm playing in the national open."

Crawford teed off at 2:31 p.m. local time off of the 10th hole.

"This week is so cool because I never do something like this," Crawford said. "Playing in front of such large crowds is a treat and I just love the interaction with the fans before and after the rounds as well."

Last year at Oakmont, dozens of friends and family made the drive down the turnpike to see him play in his first U.S. Open. This year, Crawford estimates that he has around 15 friends and family out in the galleries cheering him on. Though coach Dynda caddied last year, those duties have gone to current Drexel golf coach Ben Feld.

It's a party this week of Drexel golf proportions.

Atlantic 10 reveals 2017-18 schedule pairings

Atlantic 10 reveals 2017-18 schedule pairings

Philadelphia basketball fans will be getting a double dip of one of the Atlantic 10 conference's best rivalries once again next season.

With the league's 18-game regular season format in place for a fourth straight year, it was revealed Wednesday afternoon that Saint Joseph's and La Salle will battle twice — once in North Philly at Tom Gola Arena and a second time at the Hawks' home just off City Line Avenue. Each team in the 14-member conference will play eight teams once and five teams twice.

The full pairings for the Explorers and Saint Joe's are listed here:

La Salle
Home: Dayton, George Mason, St. Bonaventure, VCU, Fordham, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Saint Joseph’s, Saint Louis
Away: Davidson, Duquesne, George Washington, Richmond, Fordham, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Saint Joseph’s, Saint Louis

Saint Joseph’s
Home: Dayton, Duquesne, Saint Louis, VCU, Fordham, George Mason, La Salle, Massachusetts, St. Bonaventure
Away: Davidson, George Washington, Rhode Island, Richmond, Fordham, George Mason, La Salle, Massachusetts, St. Bonaventure

It was also rumored earlier in the day that the Hawks have added a Big Five matchup at Temple for Dec. 9.