Lee's key rebound ices Temple's win over St. Joe's

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Lee's key rebound ices Temple's win over St. Joe's

BOX SCORE

Call it the parting of the Cherry Sea?

With 28 seconds to play and Temple up by four, Owls junior big man Anthony Lee missed the second of two free throws. And he was the only one who thought to rebound.

Lee, with all his teammates back beyond the timeline and set up on defense, bolted over the free throw line as soon as the ball hit the rim, beat every St. Joseph's Hawk into the lane and grabbed his own rebound.

"I was working on that last night in the gym," Lee said. "So I just read it. And I'm glad I timed it right, because usually they call a violation if you step over [the line]. So right when I saw it hit off the rim and I saw where it was going, I just went a grabbed it."

He was promptly fouled again and put back on the free throw line. He made two more free throws that put Temple up by six -- and up for good.

After 38 minutes of basketball that featured 17 lead changes and a margin no larger than five, Temple (4-3, 2-0 Big 5) finally pulled away from St. Joe's (4-3, 0-1 Big 5), 77-69, at the Liacouras Center Wednesday night (see Instant Replay).

While St. Joe's Halil Kanacevic and Ron Roberts -- two guys who have previously hurt the Owls -- struggled in the second half, Lee finished with a 15-point, 11-rebound double-double. Seven of those points came in the final 2:09, after the game was tied 65-65.

He bookended a Quenton DeCosey free throw with two lay-ins and then went to the foul line, where he made the first. Then, the miss and the rebound.

"Often times those [rebounds] don't get counted, because they say you went over the line and they take it away from you," Lee's coach, Fran Dunphy, said. "I thought he had enough sense to -- I'll wait to see it on the film -- but I thought he waited until it hit the rim.

"It was one of those lucky plays where the seas opened up for him and he got the rebound."

Lee was one of four Owls in double figures Wednesday night, along with Will Cummings and Dalton Pepper, each with a team-high 16, and DeCosey, with 10.

All three of those players had necessary bouts on the bench, albeit for different reasons.

DeCosey, who started each of Temple's previous six games, didn't take off his warmup jacket until eight minutes had gone by in the first half. He proceeded to score nine of his 10 in the frame's final 12 minutes.

"We don't have a lot of rules," Dunphy said. "Just do a good job with your time management. Just a statement, that's all. But Daniel Dingle did a job [starting in DeCosey's place], and Q was a really good basketball player tonight."

While DeCosey learned a lesson about "time management," Dunphy was forced into managing minutes himself. Temple was whistled for 12 fouls in the first half and five Owls went into the locker room with two or more fouls at the break. Junior Jimmy McDonnell, who started for the third straight game, played five minutes in the first and was called for three fouls.

To make matters worse, Lee picked up his third personal two minutes into the second and forward Mark Williams earned his third about 90 seconds later.

Then came the cramping.

Pepper, who had already scored 16, came off the floor with 10:26 to go after finishing on a fast break. He immediately went for water and spent the next eight minutes alternating between the stationary bike and using some kind of roller to remove cramps from both his legs.

This was while Cummings was jogging before a pair of free throws before he knew he'd have to stand still at the line -- also cramping.

This -- given the discipline and the fouls and the dehydration -- more than likely was not a game Temple would have closed even a few weeks ago. The Owls blew second-half leads in each of their first three games and ended up losing to Kent State and Towson because of it.

But Dunphy's decision to start McDonnell for the last three games has changed Temple's rotation and maybe provided the illusion of some depth. McDonnell's five minutes weren't anything special -- as that stat line above plainly shows -- but the box score ended up showing something else by game's end.

Temple's bench had outscored St. Joe's, 25-2. Against Kent State last month, it was Temple's own reserves that were beaten, 22-2.

It's not something you thought you'd hear before the season, but Temple is 3-0 in games started by McDonnell, who spent three seasons with the Owls cheering at the end of the bench. For what it's worth, he's yet to score in just over 13 total minutes.

But the Owls have nine scholarship players on this roster, and Dunphy's now using all of them. To the benefit of his team.

"Really, it's because of Jimmy," Dunphy said. "He's a good human being. He deserves this opportunity. We, just kind of flying by the seat of our pants, gave him a chance and I think he rewarded us with some pretty good play. But I think really there's more of a mental piece to it. It's not a statement about anybody else, it's just a statement about Jimmy McDonnell and how much he deserves to be out there."

Judging by the results, you'll probably see McDonnell starting again on Saturday, when Temple hosts Texas at the Wells Fargo Center at noon.

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.