Temple fights past Penn, 76-69

Posted: January 24, 2013

Temple has looked shaky and discombobulated against teams that are supposed to be inferior competition.

There was a thought that Temple, despite being a 20-point favorite, would produce another lackluster performance Wednesday night against Penn. And that's exactly what happened as the Owls escaped with an unimpressive, 76-69 victory at the Liacouras Center.

"We are happy that we won," Temple guard Khalif Wyatt said. "It's better than losing. We are not happy with the way we are playing right now. But we will take the win."

If not for Wyatt, the Owls (13-5, 2-0 Big Five) would have had a tough time posting their sixth straight victory over the Quakers (3-15, 0-4).

The 6-foot-4 senior scored 21 of his 26 points after intermission. Wyatt scored 16 of the Owls' 18 points during one stretch. Then he went on a personal 5-0 run after his team trailed by 64-63 with 5 minutes, 46 seconds left.

Wyatt's three-pointer put the Owls ahead for good. His pair of foul shots gave them a 68-64 cushion with 5:05 left.

With the Norristown native leading the way, the Owls scored on 14 of their final 18 possessions.

"We were having a hard time scoring," Wyatt said. "So I was trying to take it upon myself to get a couple of buckets."

Before Wyatt's late heroics, the Owls were having a tough time.

Temple committed 15 turnovers and couldn't stop Penn from making clutch baskets for much of the game.

Junior guard Miles Cartwright (21 points) and sophomore reserve guard Patrick Lucas-Perry (15 points) made just about every open shot they took, and 6-foot-11 freshman center Darien Nelson-Henry (17 points) was a beast on the block.

But the youthful Quakers missed seven of their final eight shots while being outscored by 15-5 in the last 6:13.

"We definitely had our chances," Penn coach Jerome Allen said. "I felt like it wasn't so much what they did. It was our inability to execute coming down the stretch."

Sophomore center Anthony Lee added 16 points and nine rebounds for the Owls. Jake O'Brien had 14 points after he started in place of power forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, who missed the game with a knee injury. It is not known if he will return for Saturday's game at Butler.

Contact Keith Pompey at  kpompey@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @pompeysgridlock.

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