Crucial Big Five, A-10 matchup for Temple, St. Joe's

Fran Dunphy's Owls had an 11-game win streak snapped by St. Joe's at Hagan Arena last season.
Fran Dunphy's Owls had an 11-game win streak snapped by St. Joe's at Hagan Arena last season. (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff)
Posted: February 03, 2013

In simplest terms, the outcome of Temple's game Saturday at St. Joseph's will be the difference between the Owls' having a winning or losing Atlantic Ten record.

But there's a lot more to the game and how it defines the Owls' season than that.

Temple sits at 14-6, 3-3 in the A-10 and 2-0 in the Big Five. Coach Fran Dunphy admitted this week the Owls are dealing with some inconsistencies.

One moment Temple looks like a team destined to again capture the A-10 and Big Five titles. At another, it looks like a team that can't shoot or defend and only has one playmaker in Khalif Wyatt.

But there's a belief that Temple turned the corner after defeating Richmond on Wednesday. A solid performance against the archrival Hawks (12-7, 3-3 A-10, 1-1 Big Five) could go a long way in justifying that. A loss would mark the Owls' sixth setback in 12 games.

And in some respects, Temple couldn't ask for a better place to prove itself. The Owls head to tiny Hagan Arena, where St. Joe's has an incredible advantage. It's also a place where Temple struggled last season.

The 82-72 setback there halted the then-21st-ranked Owls' 11-game winning streak. In the process, St. Joe's snapped a 10-game losing streak to Temple, which included a 78-60 drubbing earlier in the year at the Liacouras Center.

"It's definitely loud in there," guard Khalif Wyatt said of Hagan. "Their student section is one of the best. I'm sure they'll be up for the game.

"It should be fun. It's a Philly game. They know all our guys. We know all of them. They know all our sets. We know all their sets."

Consequently, the senior added, the outcome will come down to which team plays better and sticks together for 40 minutes. And that's something the Owls haven't done a lot this season.

Temple point guard T.J. DiLeo's status for the game is questionable. He missed Wednesday's game after spraining his right ankle against Butler on Jan. 26.


Temple at St. Joseph's

Saturday at 6 p.m., Hagan Arena

Records: Temple, 14-6, 3-3 Atlantic Ten, 2-0 Big Five; St. Joe's, 12-7, 3-3, 1-1.

TV/Radio: CBS Sports Network; WIP-AM (610), WPHT-AM (1210).


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

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