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

usa-templelee-slideshow.jpg

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.

Freshman A.J. Brodeur leads Penn to 29-point rout of Lafayette

penn-athletics-aj-brodeur-1.jpg
Associated Press

Freshman A.J. Brodeur leads Penn to 29-point rout of Lafayette

BOX SCORE

Steve Donahue has been coaching long enough to know there are always doubts as to how players adjust to the college game.

But as he heavily recruited A.J. Brodeur, the Penn coach began to realize he was looking at as close to a sure thing as there can be. 

So far, he’s been right.

On Wednesday at the Palestra, the Penn freshman continued his torrid start to his college career, exploding for 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists to lift the Quakers to an 81-52 rout of Lafayette.

“I’ve known A.J. since 9th grade,” Donahue said. “I probably saw 100 to 200 of his games. And I was pretty sure we were getting a really good basketball player that was going to fit and really help us build this program.”

Brodeur was actually relatively quiet in the first half, scoring six points as he dealt with Lafayette double-teams. And the Leopards, who never led, pulled within one at 24-23 near the end of the first half.

But the 6-foot-8 forward helped key a 10-0 spurt with two buckets to help the Quakers gain a comfortable nine-point halftime cushion, before accounting for half of the team’s points during a 16-0 second-half run that put things away.

For the game, Brodeur shot 10 for 13 for the field while Lafayette center Matt Klinewski, one of the Leopards’ top players, shot 1 for 10 and finished with four points.

“He’s so much bigger than us,” said Lafayette coach Fran O’Hanlon, who was an assistant at Penn alongside Donahue in the early 1990s. “Matt couldn’t really handle him.”

A lot of players have struggled to handle Brodeur so far this season, no matter the competition level. Just this past Saturday, the Penn freshman scored 17 points against Temple while outdueling Owls star Obi Enechionyia for much of the way.

But although he’s hit double figures in six of his first seven games, including a career-high 23 in his collegiate debut vs. Robert Morris, Brodeur isn’t entirely satisfied yet.

“I’m definitely happy with the way I’ve been playing,” Brodeur said. “Obviously there’s always room for improvement. My game is still not where I want it to be or where I need it to be for us to be a championship team this year.”

Whether or not Penn (3-4) can contend for an Ivy League championship remains to be seen, but it certainly is promising that all three of their wins have been by lopsided margins — something that rarely happened under previous coach Jerome Allen. 

And the Quakers showcased a lot of balance and defensive tenacity against a young Leopards team Wednesday, finishing with 21 assists and 10 steals with 11 different players scoring.

Guards Jackson Donahue and Jake Silpe, last year’s starting backcourt, combined for 23 points off the bench. And senior Matt Howard took over the game in the first half, skying for rebounds, getting his hands in the passing lane and, at one point, throwing down a ferocious one-handed dunk after starting the break with a steal.

Howard, who’s endured three straight losing seasons, finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, four steals and three assists.

“He’s been through ups and downs for three years,” Donahue said. “I think he finally feels that he can really be the best player on the court and help us win games — which probably hasn’t happened before. I think that’s what you saw at the beginning of the game.”

Temple's Josh Brown returns to form, but defensive lapse costly in loss

uspresswire-temple-josh-brown.jpg
USA Today Images

Temple's Josh Brown returns to form, but defensive lapse costly in loss

BOX SCORE

Josh Brown began looking like his old self on Wednesday night.

Temple’s senior guard missed the Owls' first six games while recovering from surgery he had on his Achilles tendon in May. He returned to the court one week ago in the Owls’ win at St. Joe’s. 

Brown showed some signs of rust in his first two games. He had four points and an assist against the Hawks in 14 minutes of action. On Saturday against Penn, Brown played 11 minutes and scored five points.

In Wednesday’s 66-63 loss to George Washington at the Liacouras Center, Brown played a season-high 24 minutes. He scored 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting and added one assist and made some key plays for the Owls down the stretch in the close loss (see Instant Replay).

“He played great,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “He didn’t play great against Penn. Tonight, he was ready to go. He did some really good things for us. It’s nice to have. It’s a nice comfort.”

Brown helped Temple close a large deficit late in the game. He hit a three-point shot from the corner on the fast break with 5:28 left to bring the Owls within three. He hit another three-point shot at the top of the key with 2:44 left to bring Temple within six. 

Less than a minute later, he assisted on a Daniel Dingle three, which made the score 61-58. On Temple’s next defensive possession, Brown grabbed a rebound before Dingle hit another three on the other end of the court to tie the game at 61 with 1:31 left.

With the Owls trailing by three on the game’s final possession, Brown almost drew a foul behind the three-point line before finding Dingle for another open look that hit the back of the rim.

“When I was out there, I was just trying to be in the moment, be in the now,” Brown said. “That’s what I was doing. I wasn’t thinking about anything else. When you do that, you’re focused, and when the shot comes, your preparation takes over.”

Despite his clutch play on the offensive end, Brown was critical of a mental lapse on defense during the game’s most crucial moment. After playing tight defense for almost all of the shot clock, Brown let George Washington forward Tyler Cavanaugh slip to the corner and put up a three-point shot with one second on the shot clock.

Cavanaugh’s three-point attempt with 8.2 seconds left in the game proved to be the game-winner on Wednesday night.

“I lost focus for a little bit,” Brown said. “I helped off for a slight second and that’s all he needed. I give props to that guy for hitting a tough shot, but I could’ve just stayed and not even helped.”

Wednesday’s loss ended a five-game winning streak for Temple, now 6-3 on the season. With defenses focusing on junior forward Obi Enechionyia, who scored 12 points against the Colonials, Brown will be looked at to steady the Owls' offense.

Brown was the only Temple player besides Enechionyia to score more than one basket in the first half as the Owls went into the break trailing 31-25.

“Him being out there, he adds intensity to the game,” Dingle said. “When he goes in the game, the energy goes up. Defensively and offensively he’s a general out there.”