No. 24 Temple overcomes bad start, tops GW

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No. 24 Temple overcomes bad start, tops GW

Saturday, February 26, 2011
Posted: 5:44 p.m.

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Temple coach Fran Dunphy insisted he wasn't worried.

Three days after their worst loss of the season to the top-ranked team in the nation, the Owls missed 16 of their first 18 shots and fell 12 points behind George Washington. After the horrific first 10 minutes were over, No. 24 Temple stabilized and dominated the Colonials in the second half on the way to a 57-41 victory Saturday.

After returning the favor by holding George Washington to just two points over the final 11:22, Dunphy could look back on Saturday's game with satisfaction.

"I thought our defense in the second half was as good as we can play," Dunphy said.

How good was it?

The Owls (22-6, 12-2 Atlantic 10) held the Colonials (15-13, 8-6) to 18.8 percent shooting from the field. Temple outscored George Washington 19-2 after the Colonials took a 39-38 lead.

"Everybody just kind of dug in," Dunphy said.

Lavoy Allen had 19 points and a season-high 16 rebounds for the Owls, who have won nine of 10, while Khalif Wyatt had 14 points and Ramone Moore added 11.

On Wednesday, Temple lost by 17 points at No. 1 Duke. Then George Washington ran out to an early 12-point lead.

"I don't think there was," Dunphy said about a hangover effect. "I don't think we were reeling by any stretch. We just kind of had to get our legs under us."

Once that happened, Allen, their all-time leading rebounder, was simply marvelous, shooting 8 of 12 from the field and blocking three shots to complement his work on the boards.

"We had poor ball movement at the beginning," Allen said. "Maybe we took them too lightly."

Allen has had to do more because two of the Owls' top players, forwards Micheal Eric and Scootie Randall, are both out with injuries. Eric has missed the last four games with a fractured right patella and won't play again this season. Randall, their second-leading scorer and rebounder, missed the last three games with an injury to his right foot. Randall's return is expected, but no date has been set.

"Everybody's got to do a little bit better," Wyatt said. "We're just growing as a team since they went down."

Dwayne Smith had 12 points to lead the Colonials, who scored a season-low 41 points in having a three-game winning streak end.

George Washington coach Karl Hobbs is an admirer of both Temple and Allen.

"I think it was pretty obvious. Their defense really took things away from us," Hobbs said. "That's the best team that we've played."

Before Saturday's game, Hobbs talked at length to his team about Allen.

"He must be a pleasure to coach," Hobbs said. "He controlled and dominated the game."

While Hobbs admires Allen from afar, Dunphy gets to coach the 6-foot-9 senior -- at least for a few more weeks.

"He's always in the right place defensively," Dunphy said. "It's something we're used to, but I think today was kind of an exceptional game for him."

In their nightmarish beginning, the Owls shot just 2 of 18, and quickly fell behind 20-8. They didn't crack double figures until more than halfway through the first half. After George Washington took a 22-10 lead on Aaron Ware's layup with 7:33 to play in the opening 20 minutes, Temple crawled back into the game. Allen scored 10 straight points for the Owls as they got within 26-23 at halftime.

It was somewhat remarkable that Temple trailed by just three at the half since they shot 24.2 percent.

After the Colonials' Nemanja Mikic hit a 3-pointer to make it 29-23, the Owls scored 10 straight points -- including a 3-pointer and layup by Allen to take a 33-29 lead with 16:47 left.

The Colonials haven't beaten a ranked team at home since they defeated Xavier on Jan. 14, 1998.

Temple, which has won 23 of its last 27 games played at George Washington, trails league-leading Xavier by a half-game. The 25th-ranked Musketeers play at Dayton on Sunday.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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 paid 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.