Pow-Pow-Power Phils Win in the Desert

Pow-Pow-Power Phils Win in the Desert

Obscured in the Phillies loss to start their series in Arizona was a five-run ninth inning. After going scoreless for the first eight innings, the bats came out to hang some garbage runs when most east coasters had switched off the set.   
On Tuesday night, they picked up where that ninth left off, breaking a scoreless tie in the fourth with an injection of power we've rarely seen in 2012. Hunter Pence was a surprise addition to the lineup after missing Tuesday's game with a shoulder issue and undergoing an MRI earlier in the day, but he looked fine in the fourth, when he knocked one out to right with Jimmy Rollins was on base.
After a Ty Wigginton double, Laynce Nix crushed one over the right field wall, and the Phils had a 4-0 lead. But the gun show wasn't over just yet. 
In the seventh, Nix singled to start the inning and was moved over to second on a single by Brian Schneider, who was back in the battery with Vance Worley. After Polly sac'd them both up a base, Juan Pierre appeared to fly out to left, but a great sliding catch by Jason Kubel was ruled by second base ump Angel Hernandez to have fallen in. 
With the bases loaded, Pete Orr (star of yesterday's recap) smacked a triple to right, plating all three baserunners to give the Phils a 7-1 lead. 
Vance Worley's night was done, which was a great thing for the Diamondbacks. He'd been freezing them through six frames, striking out six—all looking. Worley allowed just one run on a homer by Cody Effing Ransom in the fifth. 
Jose Contreras took over in the seventh, and it wasn't pretty. The D'backs pulled three doubles in a row, then added a sac to bring the score to 7-4. Antonio Bastardo came in to induce the final out.
A familiar face was on the mound for Arizona in the eighth, when Mike Zagurski relieved Bryan Shaw. Shane Victorino must not have been feeling much sentimentality, capping Zagurski with a homer to lead off the inning. That's Vic's second straight game with a long ball and his fourth of the season to uhhh lead the team... 
Chad Qualls was touched for the very first time in the eighth, when he allowed a solo homer to Kubel before striking out three in a row, all swinging. 
Jon Papelbon earned the save (do people still say that?) with a perfect ninth, closing out an 8-5 Phillies win. 
I don't think anyone's calling the Phillies' offensive woes a thing of the past, but the game was something of a relief. No, Josh Collmenter is not Matt Cain, but there are more than enough Collmenters in the league, and this is what the Phils need to do when they're on the hill. 
Vancehall ReggaeGotta love another great start from Worley, who won his second straight, again keeping his walks and hits to the same number of innings he pitched. Hard to ask for much more than that. There were concerns coming into the season that hitters had figured him out toward the end of last season, sitting on his out-pitch. But we're still seeing the cold stare of opposing hitters who just got rung up looking, and Worley's ERA is a tidy 2.16. Nice to see the walks limited to just one, too. MOM! I WANT THE TRUUUUUCK!

Instant Replay: Central Florida 71, Temple 69

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Instant Replay: Central Florida 71, Temple 69

BOX SCORE

Temple and UCF went for punch-for-punch in the final two minutes, and the Owls missed their final swing in a 71-69 loss Wednesday at the Liacouras Center.

Down by one with 20 seconds left, Temple fouled Tacko Fall to attempt a one-and-one. The 7-6 center, who is a 47 percent free throw shooter, missed a and Temple gained possession. 

Temple had a chance to gain the lead on the ensuing possession out of the timeout, but Mark Williams missed a wide-open three-pointer from the wing. 

The loss is Temple's fourth in five games and forces them to 14-15 on the year and 5-11 against AAC opponents. Meanwhile, UCF won for the third straight time to improve to 18-10 (9-7 AAC).

Temple head coach Fran Dunphy has only finished with a record under .500 twice since becoming the Owls’ head coach in 2006.

Ding ding
Midway through the second half, Matt Williams threw an elbow at Shizz Alston Jr. that left the Temple freshman on the floor and a bloody lip. Alston followed by getting in Williams' face as the refs separated the two from each other. 

The refs ruled the elbow by Williams a basketball play and no foul was called.

Williams and Alston were involved in another scuffle at the scorer’s table after Alston got a steal. Williams shoved Alston and was called for his first personal foul as the two again had to be separated. 

Inside the box score
• Fall finished the game with 14 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks and two assists in the contest.

• After finishing the first half 0 for 3 from the field, Obi Enechionyia caught fire for the Owls by shooting 5 of 6 from downtown in the second half. The junior led the Owls in scoring with 17 points. He also had five rebounds, two assists and a steal.

• Temple shot 47.6 from beyond the arc. The Owls are 6-3 this season when they shoot ball 40 percent or better from three-point land.

• B.J. Taylor finished the game with 19 points, three rebounds and three assists. It's the 10th consecutive game he scored in double figures this season. 

• Mark Williams scored 11 points on 5 of 11 shooting off the bench.

Temple's starting lineup
For the fourth straight game, Dunphy went with the same starting lineup featuring Damion Moore instead of Ernest Aflakpui and Quinton Rose instead of Alani Moore II.

The Owls are 1-3 with this lineup so far. 

After scoring a career-high 11 points on 5 of 5 shooting against UConn on Sunday, Moore finished with two points against UCF. 

First half
Temple had a hard time avoiding the 7-6 big man, Fall, in the first half. Fall had six points, three rebounds and four blocks. But he also picked up two quick fouls, forcing him to the bench at the 4:23 mark.

While Fall watched from the bench, Temple's offense found some rhythm. 

Temple went on a 15-3 run toward the end of the first half as UCF hit only two field goals in the final eight minutes of the frame.

Rose led the Owls with eight points in the first half, while Alston Jr. and Mark Williams each had seven points.

The Owls finished the first half shooting the ball 46.9 percent from the field. That tripled their amount of points in the first half the last time they faced UCF. They finished with only 11 points in the first half in their first meeting Dec. 31.

What's next
Temple will play its final home game of the season against Tulane on Saturday at noon.

UCF will face Cincinnati at the CFE Center Sunday at 3 p.m.

Report: Bulls continuing trade push for Jahlil Okafor

Report: Bulls continuing trade push for Jahlil Okafor

The Bulls are apparently still after Jahlil Okafor.

Chicago has continued its trade push for the Sixers’ big man, according to a report Wednesday night by The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski.

In early February, the Bulls inquired about Okafor, according to a report by CSNChicago.com.

With Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline nearing, the clock is ticking on the Sixers’ possible trade of Okafor, who will get moved” by the mandatory cutoff date, according to NBA.com’s David Aldridge on Tuesday.

The Sixers already have one trade nearly completed. They are currently finalizing a deal that will send Ersan Ilyasova to the Atlanta Hawks, a league source confirmed to CSNPhilly.com Sixers Insider Jessica Camerato on Wednesday night (see story).

With Okafor, aside from the Bulls, other teams have reportedly expressed interest in the second-year center, including the Pacers, Blazers and Pelicans (who are expected to be out of the running after landing DeMarcus Cousins).

Okafor is averaging 11.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 23 minutes per game this season over 38 contests. Last season, he played 53 games (48 starts) as a rookie and averaged 17.5 points and seven rebounds.

The 21-year-old has taken all the trade buzz in stride.

“Trade rumors are something that’s going to be part of my life probably for as long as I’m in the NBA," Okafor said on Feb. 4 after the Bulls’ reported interest originally surfaced. "I’ve been hearing it since I’ve been in the NBA about me being traded. I just try to focus on what I can. That’s being here on this team and trying to help this team win.”