Temple, La Salle ready for 'College GameDay'

Posted: January 17, 2014

TEMPLE and La Salle meet tomorrow at the Palestra; on the surface, it is a matchup of teams headed in different directions. When you dig a little deeper, there is much more substance to the game that will be featured on ESPN's "College GameDay."

The 10-6 Explorers are riding a four-game winning streak coming into their annual meeting with the Owls. For the first time since 1995, the teams are not meeting in an Atlantic 10 game. La Salle is still a member and off to a 3-0 start in the A-10.

"We weren't practicing with that edge that we were practicing with last year," La Salle guard Tyrone Garland said. "I think we have that edge, and we are starting to look better as a team."

Temple, on the other hand, comes into the rivalry game 5-10, and have dropped its last five games. The Owls are 0-5 in their first year in the American Athletic Conference.

"It's been tough," Temple guard Dalton Pepper said. "Nobody likes losing. We just have to come out ready to go on Saturday. It's a big game. Big 5 game."

Despite what their record might suggest, the Owls are far from a bad team, and were on the losing end of several close games.

"They have a great team every single year," La Salle coach John Giannini said. "They have had bad injuries at bad times, and have had to play great teams in the midst of all that. They led Memphis in the second half. They led Cincinnati in the second half. They are just a couple guys short."

Temple is shorthanded. On top of losing Dan Dingle for the season with a torn meniscus in his right knee, dynamic point guard Will Cummings has been out with a concussion. It is unclear whether he will play tomorrow. Temple has seven scholarship players available with him out.

"I feel better every day. I woke up without a headache," Cummings said yesterday. He watched his team practice, participated in cardio work and shot around after practice.

It would be a big game for Cummings to miss.

"I'm very excited," La Salle's Tyreek Duren said. "It's a dream come true. When you are growing up, that's what you see every day when you're watching college. You see 'College GameDay' and how exciting it looks and how they are doing the interviews with the crowd in the background."

Duren and the rest of La Salle's seniors realize how big of a game this is. In 3 previous years against the Owls, they came up empty.

"They told our older players they have never beat Temple in years. They'll be ready to go," Pepper said.

"It is not something we like to brag about," Giannini said. "It is something we don't like to talk about externally, but trust me, internally, we do talk about it. It is a great challenge for our seniors in their last game against them."

Temple, on the other hand, is looking for the game to serve as a launching point for the rest of its season. All the hoopla over the "GameDay" will go away once the clock strikes noon.

"Once the ball goes up," Owls coach Fran Dunphy said, "we are just trying to be better than La Salle."


On Twitter: @AndrewJAlbert01

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