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.

Big 5 Hall of Fame inducts 'maybe the greatest class we've ever put together'

Big 5 Hall of Fame inducts 'maybe the greatest class we've ever put together'

About midway through Monday night's Big 5 Hall of Fame ceremony, the oldest inductee of this year's class paid homage to the youngest.

That's how much hoops legend George Raveling, a 1960 Villanova graduate, was blown away by Penn alum Ibrahim Jaaber's impassioned speech that ended with a powerful poem about how basketball saved him.

"It kept running through my mind that you represent everything good about sports," Raveling said to Jaaber. "And I hope you'll continue to use your wisdom, your influence, to make the game better, to make the world better. As a 79-year-old-man, soon to be 80 in June, I want to tell you that if I come back in the next life, I want to be like you."

That touching moment, in many ways, was a perfect encapsulation of the ties that bind the Big 5, from one generation to the next. But aside from Raveling and longtime Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriter Bill Lyon -- who, despite battling Alzheimer's, courageously gave an acceptance speech to a standing ovation at the Palestra -- this year's class was filled with contemporary guards who clashed in some great Big 5 games not too long ago.

Among them were two current NBA players in Saint Joseph's icon Jameer Nelson (class of 2004) and former 'Nova star Randy Foye (2006), as well as Temple's Lynn Greer (2002) and Jaaber (2007). La Salle women's player Carlene Hightower (2008) was the other member of the star-studded class defined by tough, gritty Philadelphia guards.

"The inductees here for the Hall of Fame have got to be maybe the greatest class we've ever put together," said Villanova head coach Jay Wright, who closed the night by accepting the Big 5 Coach of the Year award right after Josh Hart took home Player of the Year honors. "I grew up in Philadelphia and we always talk about what a great place the Palestra is -- and it is. But when you listen to Lynn, Randy, Coach Rav, Ibby, Jameer, you know why this is a great place. It's because of all the great man that have played here -- outstanding, humble, articulate, intelligent men that understand they're part of something that's bigger than themselves. That's what makes the Big 5. That's what makes the Palestra."

Nelson, the National Player of the Year during St. Joe’s historic 2003-04 season, certainly showed what kind of person he is, inviting all of his old Hawks teammates who were in attendance to stand behind him as he accepted his Hall of Fame award. And he even choked up at one point as he described what those teammates, coach Phil Martelli and Saint Joseph's University have meant to him as he's forged a long and fruitful NBA career.

"Without them, none of this would be possible," said Nelson, the Hawks' all-time leader in points (2,094) and assists (713). "These guys mean the world to me."

Nelson, now with the Denver Nuggets, just wrapped up his 13th season in the NBA, calling it an "unbelievable ride" for a 5-foot-11 kid from Chester. That's two more years spent in the league than Foye, who Nelson thanked for forcing him to be better back in their college days. He also called Greer one of his "great friends" and said that Jaaber's speech "touched me in so many different ways, I wish more young kids could hear it."

"I'm very grateful to be inducted with you guys," Nelson said, although he did point out that when he was at St. Joe's, the Hawks had Villanova down 43-9 at halftime one year. 

"But those next couple years, we payed y'all back," said Foye, now with the Brooklyn Nets, during his own speech.

Those rivalries were especially meaningful to Foye, who also played against Jaaber in both high school and college.

"Being from North Jersey, you never hear about the Big 5," said Foye, a first-team All-American and Big 5 Player of the Year in 2006. "For me coming here and witnessing it up close and personal, it's just something truly amazing."

Foye added that everywhere he goes, he tries to embody what a Philly guard is -- "small but play big," as he put it -- while reminding people that he's proud to be a Villanova alum. The same can be said of Raveling, a longtime college coach and executive who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.

"I'm so proud to say I'm a Big 5 product -- and a proud graduate of Villanova University," Raveling said. "I look back many times and realize the wisest decision I ever made in my lifetime was to enroll at Villanova University."

Just as he opened his speech, Raveling also closed it by saying he was "proud" to enter the Big 5 Hall of Fame the same year as Jaaber, whose remarks touched on spirituality, family and a unique journey from Morocco to New Jersey to Penn.

Jaaber also made sure to thank the person who perhaps embodies the Big 5 more than anyone else: former La Salle player, former Penn coach and current Temple coach Fran Dunphy.

"I don't think I could have had a better coach for me in my situation than my Coach Dunphy," said Jaaber, the 2006-07 Big 5 Player of the Year and the all-time Ivy League leader in steals (303). "I'm almost embarrassed to be inducted into the Hall of Fame before Coach Dunphy."

Archbishop Wood basketball star Collin Gillespie signs with Villanova

Archbishop Wood basketball star Collin Gillespie signs with Villanova

Archbishop Wood's Collin Gillespie, the Philadelphia Catholic League's MVP, has signed a national letter of intent to attend Villanova and play for Jay Wright.

Gillespie, during his senior year, averaged 24.1 points per game. The 6-foot-2 guard lead Archbishop Wood to their first Catholic League title in school history and followed that up with a PIAA State Championship game victory -- also a first for the school. Along with the league MVP, Gillespie was named Player of the Year by the Philadelphia Daily News.

"We are excited to have Collin and his family join the Nova Nation," Villanova coach Jay Wright said in a statement. "Collin comes from a great program at Archbishop Wood and has been well prepared by John Mosco. His guard skills, basketball IQ and winning instincts will be a welcome addition to our program."

Gillespie will join previously announced signees Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (Neumann-Goretti High School in Philadelphia) and Jermaine Samuels (Rivers School, Weston, Mass.) in Villanova's class of 2021.