Temple closes strong to defeat Penn

Dalton Pepper puts Temple ahead to stay at 75-73 on a steal and layup in the last minute. Pepper scored a career-high 19 points as the Owls held off Penn.
Dalton Pepper puts Temple ahead to stay at 75-73 on a steal and layup in the last minute. Pepper scored a career-high 19 points as the Owls held off Penn. (MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / Staff Photographer)
Posted: November 11, 2013

Temple coach Fran Dunphy came into the season wondering which of his players would step up and fill the massive void left by the departure of five seniors.

On Saturday he started getting some answers as the Owls opened the season at the Palestra with a 78-73 victory over Penn (0-1).

"I thought we did a really good job for a large part of the game," Dunphy said. "We got ourselves in a little bit of trouble late in the game, but I think what saved us was our offensive rebounding."

Dalton Pepper led the Owls with a career-best 19 points. Pepper, who also pulled down a career-high nine rebounds, connected on 6 of 13 field goals. He went 3 for 6 from behind the three-point line, where Temple was just 6 for 24. Teammate Will Cummings finished with 18 points, also a career high.

Penn, led by Tony Hicks' 28 points, did not go down without a fight. Trailing by 15 points with just over 11 minutes to play, Penn went on a 23-6 run, capped by Hicks's layup with 1 minute, 39 seconds left, and took a 73-71 lead.

But Penn, which also received 19 points and 10 rebounds from Darien Nelson-Henry, did not score again. Meanwhile, Temple's Anthony Lee (12 points, 12 rebounds) and Pepper both scored on layups, and Cummings and Pepper combined to sink 3 of 4 free throws in the final 24 seconds to seal the win.

"We would have liked for it to have been easier down the stretch," Pepper said of Penn's late push. "But the good thing is we showed poise down the stretch with clutch baskets and free throws."

Temple held a big advantage on the boards, outrebounding Penn by 49-35.

The Quakers jumped out to a 9-4 lead. However, Temple erased that advantage with a 13-0 run of its own and led until Hicks put the Quakers ahead with his late layup.

"We have to come out with more energy than we did," Hicks said of the second half. "We hurt ourselves there. We spent the last stretch of the game fighting to get back in it."

Penn coach Jerome Allen agreed.

"It's unfortunate because we did not play with a sense of urgency for roughly 33 minutes," Allen said.


jmitchell@philly.com

@JmitchInquirer

www.inquirer.com/owlsinq

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