Zack Rosen Goes All Zack Rosen, But Temple Survives Penn 73-67 in Overtime

Zack Rosen Goes All Zack Rosen, But Temple Survives Penn 73-67 in Overtime

Zack Rosen made a strong case for why he may just be the best guard in the city. Unfortunately for the rest of his Quaker teammates, his game-high 27-points would not be enough.

The Temple University Owls barely survived the Penn Quakers on Monday night, needing overtime to ultimately escape the Palestra with a 73-67 victory.

Temple coach Fran Dunphy said after the game that this was "probably" the third year in a row in which the Quakers outplayed his Owls. But for Rosen, merely taking Temple to the wire just wasn't good enough.

The senior guard expressed sincere regret after the loss, knowing that this would mark the final time he would have an opportunity to beat Temple. It was the fourth defeat of his college career suffered at the hands of the Owls, a fact he knew all too well. Concluding that there is no such thing as a "moral victory," Rosen was plainly disheartened, even in spite of his remarkable performance.

Given the Owls' roster circumstances—with both Scootie Randall and Khalif Wyatt out of the lineup—this may have been best opportunity for Penn to finally upend Temple during Zack's tenure. Not having their best defender and first option off the bench made the Owls look relatively, if not less than, ordinary against Penn.

Thankfully, senior leaders Juan Fernandez and Ramone Moore were there to answer the call. Though both struggled for large stretches of the ballgame, they would lead the team in scoring with 19 and 15, respectively. Both hit key 3-pointers in the extra session that would keep Temple ahead by the thinnest of margins.

Indeed, the Owls were up just two—leading 69-67—when Fernandez attempted to inbound the ball to Moore, Temple's best free throw shooter. Shockingly, Miles Cartwright would be called for an intentional foul on Owl guard T.J. DiLeo. Apoplectic, Quaker head coach Jerome Allen threw one hell of a fit, earning a prompt technical.

That's right—you processed that sentence correctly—with 6.4 seconds to play in a two-point game in overtime, the home team was whistled for an intentional foul and a technical in the same stoppage. It was as absolutely baffling to watch in person as it is to now read in print. Though Temple would miss the "front end" of their four foul shots, Fernandez would ice the attempts earned with thanks to Allen's technical, finally putting the game out of reach.

And while Moore and Fernandez' names top the stat sheet for Temple, it was the performances of T.J. DiLeo and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson that made the greatest impact for the Owls.

Starting with the DiLeo, the redshirt junior set career-highs both in points—10—and minutes played—38. It was T.J. who was given the unenviable task of trying to contain Rosen for the bulk of the evening. Though no Owl was successful on that front, T.J. was responsible for a game-changing block (as pictured above) in the late stages of regulation to prevent yet another Rosen three-pointer from heading toward the Temple basket.

As for Hollis-Jefferson, though he struggled to find his place in the offense during the early going, the 6-6 power forward was Temple's best player at both ends of the floor in the second half. Not only did he work to shut down the perimeter and interior on defense, but he threw down what may already be the most thunderous dunk Temple fans will see all season. He finished with 10 points on 5-6 shooting from the floor, and appears to have added mid-range jumper to his offensive repertoire. The Owls will need Rahlir to take that "next step" in his progression if they're to reach their potential this season. He certainly lived up to his end of the bargain Monday night.

The Quakers will look to rebound from their first loss of their season when they take on Rider this coming Thursday in the first round of the Philly Hoop Group Classic. As for the Owls, they'll be on their way to San Juan to take part in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament. They, too, will be back in action Thursday when they take on Western Michigan.

Your next Big 5 matchup comes Tuesday night when the Villanova Wildcats meet the La Salle Explorers.

Extraneous Notes I Couldn't Fit in to the Narrative:
I was happy to see the Penn kids roll out some banners to taunt the Temple fans in attendance. I tried to copy them down, but may have missed one or two as my view of their student section was partially obstructed. Here's what I was able to see:

(1) Congrats on the Big East!

(2) Temple (n): Where you go to pray that (maybe) we will employ you some day (safety school).

(3) Dunphy we mustache you a question, but we'll shave it for later #noshavenovember

(4) Cathedral of Basketball / Temple of Losers

Roll outs…Soooo Colleeggge…

'Night guys.

Best of NBA: Wall, Wizards top Knicks for 4th straight win

Best of NBA: Wall, Wizards top Knicks for 4th straight win

NEW YORK -- John Wall had 29 points and 13 assists, scoring Washington's final four points in the last 32 seconds as the surging Wizards beat the New York Knicks 113-110 on Thursday night.

Otto Porter Jr. made six 3-pointers for the second straight night and added 23 points, but the Wizards needed big plays from Wall down the stretch to win their fourth in a row.

He made two free throws to put Washington back on top after New York had rallied to take a 110-109 lead, then rebounded Carmelo Anthony's miss and left all the Knicks in his dust as he raced down the floor for a dunk with 13.7 seconds to play.

Anthony finished with 34 points but Wall stole the ball from Brandon Jennings to prevent the Knicks from attempting a 3-pointer that could have tied it (see full recap).

Leonard scores 34 to lead Spurs over Nuggets
SAN ANTONIO -- Kawhi Leonard scored 34 points, rookie Dejounte Murray added a season-high 24 and the San Antonio Spurs overcame a pregame injury to Pau Gasol in beating the Denver Nuggets 118-104 on Thursday night.

Denver's three-game winning streak was snapped despite a career-high 35 points from Nikola Jokic.

Leonard had his fifth straight 30-point performance, right after learning he will start for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game for the second consecutive season.

The Spurs were unexpectedly without Gasol, Tony Parker and then coach Gregg Popovich. Gasol and Parker were both late scratches due to injury, and Popovich was ejected for the first time this season.

Gasol broke the ring finger on his left (non-shooting) hand by jamming it against Kyle Anderson's shoulder during pregame warmups while attempting a running hook. The 16-year veteran center immediately clutched his hand and left the court.

X-rays revealed the break, and the Spurs said there is no timeline for Gasol's return.

Irving, James lead Cavs over Suns
CLEVELAND -- Kyrie Irving scored 26 points, All-Star teammate LeBron James had 21 points and 15 assists, and the Cleveland Cavaliers looked more like themselves at home in a 118-103 win over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.

The Cavs were back in Quicken Loans Arena following a six-game road trip (their longest of the season) that concluded with an embarrassing 35-point loss at Golden State. But on their home floor, they had better offensive balance and ball movement while improving to 30-11 -- the same record Cleveland had at the halfway point of its 2016 NBA championship season.

Channing Frye scored 18, Iman Shumpert 17 and James Jones 14 while filling in for star forward Kevin Love, still bothered by back spasms.

Tyson Chandler had 22 points and 16 rebounds, but the Suns lost for the fourth time in five games (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Surging Capitals rock Blues in St. Louis

Best of NHL: Surging Capitals rock Blues in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS -- Andre Burakovsky, T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov each had a goal and an assist to lead the Washington Capitals to a 7-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Jay beagle, Brett Connolly, Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams also scored, and Alex Ovechkin and Daniel Winnik each had two assists to help Washington earn at least a point in its 12th straight game (10-0-2) for an NHL-best 66 points.

Braden Holtby bounced back from his roughest outing of the season with 22 saves. Holtby was pulled after giving up a season-high five goals on 26 shots in an 8-7 overtime loss at Pittsburgh on Monday. He improved to 22-8-4 and 5-0 lifetime against St. Louis (see full recap).

Grabner scores 2 goals, Rangers top Leafs
TORONTO -- Michael Grabner scored two goals against his former team, helping the New York Rangers snap a three-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Pavel Buchnevich, Brady Skjei and J.T. Miller added goals for New York, and Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves following a series of rough outings.

Tyler Bozak and Zach Hyman scored for Toronto, which had a three-game winning streak stopped. The Maple Leafs had earned 21 of a possible 26 points in their previous 13 games (10-2-1). Frederik Andersen gave up four goals on 40 shots (see full recap).

Tavares leads Islanders to shutout of Stars
NEW YORK -- Getting a new coach this week didn't change things much for the Islanders -- and oddly enough, that's a good thing for New York.

John Tavares narrowly missed out on his second hat trick in a week, Thomas Greiss got his second straight shutout and the Islanders beat the Dallas Stars 3-0 on Thursday night in their first game since firing longtime coach Jack Capuano.

New York canned Capuano in the middle of his seventh season Tuesday, replacing him on an interim basis with Doug Weight (see full recap).

Niederreiter, Wild dodge letdown, edge Coyotes
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Nino Niederreiter had two power-play goals and an assist, including the go-ahead score for the Minnesota Wild with 7:06 remaining in a 4-3 victory over Arizona on Thursday night after the Coyotes came back from a two-goal deficit.

With Shane Doan in the penalty box for hooking, Niederreiter knocked in a nifty redirect of Mikael Granlund's slap shot for the winner. Devan Dubnyk stopped 20 shots for the Wild, who are 18-2-2 in their last 22 games.

Louis Domingue made 21 saves for the Coyotes, who lost their fourth in a row and fell to 2-12-1 in their last 15 games starting with a 4-1 loss to Minnesota in Arizona on Dec. 17 (see full recap).