Their House: SJU Claims Share of Big 5 Championship with Win over Temple

Their House: SJU Claims Share of Big 5 Championship with Win over Temple

The SJU athletic department made a specific point to play more of the university's basketball games at the Hagan Arena this season. They dragged both Temple and Villanova to the Fieldhouse. That decision appears to have paid off.

With their 82-72 win over the Temple Owls on Saturday night, Saint Joseph's walked off the floor in its final home game of the season with a share of the 2012 Big 5 Title. They will share that championship with the Owls.

The SJU victory snaps two Temple streaks. First, Temple's 11 game win streak in 2012 has come to an end. Second, the Owls' 10 consecutive wins over SJU is now but a 10-1 record in the teams' last 11 meetings. It is the first Saint Joseph's win over Temple since Jan. 26, 2008.

Saint Joseph's win moves the team to 19-11 overall and 9-6 in the Atlantic 10. Temple's loss, meanwhile, drops the Owls to 22-6 and 11-3.

Our (becoming trademark) college basketball assorted notes wrap featuring game notes, postseason scenarios and student rollouts after the jump...

Game Notes
-- Saint Joseph's Langston Galloway led all scorers with 22 points on 6 of 9 shooting from the field and 4 for 6 shooting from three. He offered the SJU home crowd at the Hagan Arena an exaggerated fist pump after his first made jumper of the game. He was locked in from that point on and made dagger after dagger to either stretch his team's lead or keep the Owls at bay.

-- Just as in their first meeting earlier this season, the Temple Owls had absolutely no answer for SJU power forward Ronald Roberts. Coming off the bench, Roberts scored 12 points in 14 minutes in the first half and finished with 18 points and 7 assists. He was absolutely frightening every time he attacked the basket. Roberts is by no means the best player in the city, but he might very well be the single most entertaining, especially against a Temple team who apparently has zero answer for how to guard him.

-- Similarly, Halil Kanacevic, who we expected to be much more of a factor Game 1 at the Apollo, finished with a 14 and 12 double-double. He spent the final five minutes of the game unleashing primal screams in the direction of the SJU student section. He got every meaningful rebound down the stretch and iced the game for all intents and purposes with 3:50 remaining. With SJU up 73-65, Roberts missed two foul shots that could have swung some momentum Temple's way had it not been for Kanacevic grabbing the rebound, getting fouled and making both attempts. After a C.J. Aiken block on one of Temple's signature weak drives to the basket in the final 10 minutes, Kanacevic was there to tip-in a Carl Jones miss and put the Hawks up 10. He back-pedaled down the court (again) screaming at the fans. It was over.

-- In the end, Kanacevic and Roberts on the block were important than Galloway's shooting.

-- Also, Chris Wilson banged a three with 9:42 remaining. That should have been a sign.

-- For Temple, it was all about the fouls. Five Owls -- Juan Fernandez, Khalif Wyatt, Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, Micheal Eric, Anthony Lee -- finished with four personals. The team tied its season-high for infractions. Fernandez picked up his fourth with more than five minutes remaining that necessitated a prolonged, ineffective offense-defense sub package. The freshman Lee had an especially difficult night, channeling Moses Malone in the worst way possible. He finished with 4 points and 4 fouls in 4 minutes.

-- While we're on the subject, though the officiating didn't cost Temple the game nor hand SJU the win, it did hurt the flow. The contest was physical and it was intended to be from the opening tip. Fouls were inevitable, but it makes little sense to choose to call the ticky-tack hand checks when the guys mauling each other under the basket will force the officials to blow their whistles. Make it two consecutive Big 5 games where the referees tried to assert themselves early, lost control of the game, and spent the remainder of their time mucking up what was left. Again, they didn't hand or cost anyone anything, but they had an impact. That, in and of itself, is bad enough.

-- On the score sheet, Hollis-Jefferson tied Moore for a team-high 15 points. Temple's bigs -- with the exception of the (through no fault of his own) overwhelmed Lee -- came to play, while the guards simply failed to perform at the level they needed to. See, the beauty of Temple's three-headed monster in the backcourt is that if one of them underperforms, another will pick up the slack. Really, since losing Dionte Christmas three seasons ago, that's been Temple's M.O. They don't have "one guy." They have "a number of guys." Unfortunately for the Owls, they always run into a few games a year where that balance actually works against them to the point where everyone slumps. That happened tonight. Wyatt shot 3 for 8 and Fernandez 1 of 7.

-- Juan Fernandez had not taken (by our eye) one his trademark ill-advised one-handed-scoop drives to the basket in probably five or six games. He did it on Temple's first possession Saturday. Like Wilson's three, this should have been a sign.

-- Getting back to the Temple bigs fighting like hell, Micheal Eric posted his fifth double-double of the season with 14 and 14. He appeared as upset with the Hagan Arena's rims as Mr. Roberts. Despite the loss, Hollis-Jefferson and Eric should be commended for their efforts in both assaulting Aiken on the block and for banging bodies with Roberts and Kanacevic under the glass.

Postseason Scenarios
-- With a win over St. Bonaventure this coming Wednesday, SJU will clinch a first-round bye and an automatic trip to Atlantic City.

-- With a win over Massachusetts this coming Wednesday, Temple will clinch the A-10 regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. 

The Environment / Your Mandatory Rollout Recap

Temple Rollouts
1. This is Hawk BasketbaLLLLLLLLLLL?
2. SJU students, enjoying your assigned seats?
3. I Thought they taught penmanship at catholic schools.
4. CJ, transfer to Nova: All you can do is block

SJU Rollouts

1. 54th Airborne Pops the Cherry Crusade
2. SJU taxes subsidize TU football
3. Sugar Daddies pay ][uition (ed note: If you don't get it, click here)
4. Temple's Dance Team: Discounted on SeekingArrangement.com
5. Juan, you know we don't speak Spanish
6. The Hawk Will Never Die

Amusing SJU Cheers
1. Musically: "You walked, you traveled, you took many steps"
2. To Owls at the line after missed free throws: "You let the whole team down"
3. Some guy sitting two rows behind Tony DiLeo screamed "WHO'S YOUR DADDY!?" to T.J. DiLeo while he was at the line. It was highly amusing.

While traffic (both in and around the building) is an absolute nightmare, the SJU Fieldhouse is a special place. The Hawks would be well served to keep playing in the Hagan Arena. 

It's tiny. It's congested. There's too many people. There's not enough room. 

In other words, it's everything too many big conference schools will never experience. In other other words, it's awesome. These thoughts extend to the Gola. The Temple kids can chant "high school gym" all they want. I, frankly, never saw any problem with high school gyms.

Phillies conclude miserable homestand with new low as Zach Eflin demoted to Triple A

Phillies conclude miserable homestand with new low as Zach Eflin demoted to Triple A

BOX SCORE

For a moment Sunday afternoon, Citizens Bank Park sprung to life as the Phillies strung together five hits in a four-run second inning.

But four home runs off starter Zach Eflin sent the Phillies to another defeat and Eflin to Lehigh Valley.

Eflin was optioned to Triple A following the Phillies' 8-4 loss to the Reds, in which he allowed seven runs on nine hits in just five innings of work (see Instant Replay)

"His first two-three outings were really good," manager Pete Mackanin said. "He was keeping the ball down, but his last three, including today, he's elevating his sinker and once you elevate that sinker, it doesn't have the effect that you'd like to have."

The Phillies have now lost nine consecutive series for the first time since 1997. The loss was their 22nd in 28 games and handed the Reds their first series win at CBP since August 2006.  

Eflin got off to a rocky start Sunday with three first-inning singles, allowing one run. He escaped further damage but then proceeded to give up a home run in each of his final four innings. The final home run — Adam Duvall's second on the day — came on an 0-2 pitch and extended Cincinnati's lead to 7-4. All of the Reds' hits off Eflin came on fastballs as their potent lineup feasted on his pitches high in the zone.

Two weeks ago, Eflin's ERA stood at 2.87 as he kept opponents in the ballpark with his hard sinker. However, starting with a May 17 outing in Texas, Eflin has allowed 22 runs in his last 15 innings. He's given up seven homers in his last two starts and at least nine hits in five consecutive outings as his ERA ballooned to 6.13. With Sunday's results, the Phillies were left little choice but to option the 23-year-old righty while he deals with a rough patch.

"There are some things I need to work on," Eflin said. "I need to do a better job of pitching backward, especially in fastball counts. There's a lot of things I need to work on, but at the end of the day, I'm not worried about it. I'm going to go down there, work on everything I need to work on and get back as soon as possible."

The Phillies will reinstate Howie Kendrick (oblique) off the 10-day disabled list Monday, Mackanin said, in a corresponding move after the veteran IF/OF completed a four-game rehab stint (see story)

Kendrick could help boost an offense that is scuffling. After a four-run second inning highlighted by Andrew Knapp's 434-foot three-run home run, the Phillies' bats fell silent. They strung together five more hits. However, three double plays and a few untimely strikeouts killed any further rallies.

The Phillies left a potential run stranded on third base in the fifth inning as Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr struck out against starter Scott Feldman, who waded into and out of trouble in five innings of work. Herrera went 0 for 4 with that strikeout, continuing to slump. His average has fallen to .217.

With Kendrick returning, Mackanin indicated he would give Herrera some days off soon to help him relax amid mounting pressure to hit.

"He's scuffling. A couple guys scuffling," Mackanin said. "I'll probably move him down in the lineup. I can't keep him in the two-hole. But he has to fight his way out. 

"We'll see when Kendrick gets here. We're going to have another outfielder. I'm going to mix and match and try to get everybody in there. Kendrick, I'm going to bring along slowly because I want to make sure he's healthy.

"In other words, I don't have a set outfield. I'm going to mix those guys up."

On the infield, Maikel Franco continued his slide Sunday, going 1 for 4 with a strikeout and a double play. The slugger is hitting .213 this month, just as he did in April, but his power is down with just two home runs. Kendrick, who only played left field in April, played third base while at Triple A, so he could potentially spell Franco as well.

"He hit a ball hard today but he's not giving us consistent at-bats," Mackanin said. "He's searching both physically and mentally. It's not easy for him. I can tell he's down on himself. He's not happy about what's going on."

The Phillies came into this week struggling and were unable to rebound against the Rockies and Reds, losing five of seven. They averaged just 2.42 runs during the homestand.

However, the bigger problem comes in the rotation. The team gave up 5.71 runs per game in their last seven despite a 23 2/3 inning scoreless streak from the bullpen. The rotation's struggles continue to plague the team as they carry the worst record in baseball into Miami for a three-game set starting Monday.

"I certainly expected more out of our starters," Mackanin said. "We've had some issues with [Aaron] Nola's arm and Clay Buchholz going down. Although [Jerad] Eickhoff is going to end up having a good year in my opinion. He's been a little bit hot and cold.

"And Eflin, I counted on him to have a big year this year. I think if he gets himself straightened out down in Triple A, I think he's going to come back strong. But certainly, I can't sit here and say I'm happy with [his performance]."

Instant Replay: Reds 8, Phillies 4

Instant Replay: Reds 8, Phillies 4

BOX SCORE

Zach Eflin allowed a career-high four home runs and the Phillies were outslugged by the Cincinnati Reds in an 8-4 defeat Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phils have now lost nine consecutive series for the first time since 1997. The loss was their 22nd in 28 games. The Reds, who took two of three, picked up their first series win at CBP since August 2006.

Eflin was roughed up for the third consecutive start. The Reds tagged him for seven runs in just five innings. After three hits led to a run in the first inning, he gave up home runs in each of his last four frames. Following the game, Eflin was optioned to Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Jeanmar Gomez allowed a solo home run in relief. 

Andrew Knapp gave the Phillies an early lead with a three-run homer during a four-run second inning. However, three double plays stifled the Phillies' offense, which was held scoreless after the second inning. 

Scott Feldman improved to 4-4 with the win for the Reds. The Phils dropped to 17-31 while the Reds improved to 24-25. 

Starting pitching report
Eflin stumbled through five innings, allowing nine hits. He had held opponents to just four homers in first six starts but has now has let up seven in his last two appearances. Over his past three starts, Eflin's been tagged for 22 runs in 15 innings. He's given up at least nine hits in all five May starts. 

A poor sign for Eflin: Only two of his outs came on the ground. The Reds were all over his fastball and scored in each of his five innings. His ERA has gone from 2.81 to 6.13 since May 17.

Feldman labored through a 32-pitch second inning in which he gave up four runs. He settled down afterward with a pair of double plays to get through five innings. The veteran righty struck out the last two batters he faced with a man on third and one out.

Bullpen report
Luis Garcia threw two shutout innings, striking out one. Jeanmar Gomez gave up rookie Patrick Kivlehan's second home run of the day in the ninth inning, snapping the Phillies' bullpen's scoreless streak at 23 2/3 innings. Gomez allowed three hits and the one run in two innings.

Blake Wood, Wandy Peralta, Drew Storen and Raisel Iglesias each threw shutout innings in relief of Feldman.

At the plate
Manager Pete Mackanin wanted the Phillies to string together 4-5 hits and they did so in the second inning. Tommy Joseph and Michael Saunders led off with back-to-back singles before Knapp drove them in with his 434-foot blast. Knapp laid off two high fastballs after falling behind 0-2 and drilled a curveball into the Phillies' bullpen.

Freddy Galvis followed with a double. Even Eflin aided the cause with his first career RBI on a run-scoring single. 

The top two in the order — Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera — went 0 for 8. Everyone else in the lineup had at least one hit. Saunders and Aaron Altherr each had two hits while Ty Kelly had a pinch-hit double.

Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and Kivlehan combined for five home runs with Duvall and Kivlehan notching multi-hit games. Jose Peraza and Zack Cozart extended their hitting streaks to 13 and 11 games, respectively, in the first inning.

Up next
The Phillies head on the road and begin a three-game set with the Miami Marlins, whom they beat twice in April at Citizens Bank Park.

Monday, 7:10 p.m. — Jeremy Hellickson (5-2, 4.28) vs. Edinson Volquez (0-7, 4.82)

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.— Vince Velasquez (2-4, 5.55) vs. Justin Nicolino (0-1, 5.40)

Wednesday, 1:10 p.m. — Aaron Nola (2-2, 4.34) vs. Dan Straily (3.83)