No. 22 Temple 80, La Salle 79

Earl Pettis hit one big shot after another until his last


Ramone Moore scored five of his 18 points in overtime to help

No. 22 Temple overcome a spectacular effort by Pettis and win its

11th straight game, 80-79 over La Salle on Wednesday night.

”We should be able to manage the game better,” Owls coach Fran

Dunphy said after his team blew a 10-point lead with 2:47 left in


Khalif Wyatt scored 25 points and Michael Eric had 18 points and

12 rebounds for Temple (22-5, 11-2 Atlantic 10), which moved into

the Top 25 this week for the first time this season.

Pettis had a career-high 33 points, including the last seven in

regulation, for La Salle (18-10, 7-6).

Pettis hit a 3-pointer to open the scoring in overtime before

Temple scored the next nine points. Moore hit a 3-pointer and then

his jumper gave the Owls a 76-74 lead they didn’t relinquish.

After four free throws by Temple, Tyreek Duren’s 3-pointer got

La Salle within 80-77. Pettis hit a bank shot to cut it to 80-79.

After Juan Fernandez missed a layup, the Explorers set up the last

shot, but Pettis and Sam Mills missed 3-point attempts before the

buzzer sounded.

”It felt good, but it just didn’t fall,” Pettis said about his

last 3 from the top of the key. ”I was just looking to be

aggressive, trying to make a play. Everyone is upset, but we can’t

hang our heads.”

The Explorers lost for the second time in 14 home games this


A raucous sellout crowd turned out at Tom Gola Arena for a

matchup of Big 5 rivals, and there was plenty of trash-talking in

the student section. A moment of silence was observed before the

game for former La Salle player Alonzo Lewis, who died Tuesday

night. Lewis, a two-time state champion as a coach at Chester High

School, was inducted into the Big 5 Hall of Fame in 1980.

Dunphy, a La Salle alum, said he sat with Lewis for an hour at

the Big 5 Hall of Fame luncheon on Tuesday afternoon.

”I got the chance to be with a guy I admired so much and who

helped so many people,” Dunphy said. ”When I got that call this

morning, my heart was broken.”

The Owls seemed to have the game well in hand before Pettis took

over in the final 2 minutes of regulation. Pettis hit a jumper,

made two free throws and then nailed a 3-pointer to tie it 71-71.

After Wyatt missed a jumper, Duren missed a layup. Wyatt had the

ball after a timeout with 5.6 seconds left, but he didn’t get a

shot off before the buzzer.

”It’s my fault,” Wyatt said of losing track of the clock.

Temple’s last basket in regulation came with 4:05 left.

The Explorers took their first lead since early in the first

half on two free throws by Jerrell Wright with 11:14 left. Duren

hit a 3-pointer to get them within a point before Wright finished

off a 9-0 run at the free throw line.

But the Owls answered as Wyatt scored 10 straight points. He

started with a 3-pointer then had a steal and dunked. Another 3

followed. Then he nailed a jumper to give Temple a 59-50 lead.

Pettis finally ended Wyatt’s show with a jumper.

”He was spectacular,” Dunphy said of Wyatt. ”He’s a great

offensive player and I’m proud of his defensive effort against

Pettis as well. He’s a fearless kid, he wants the opportunity and

he takes advantage of it.”

The Owls built a 10-point lead in the first half, but La Salle

cut it to 32-29 by halftime. An alley-oop pass to Galloway thrilled

the crowd and Devon White followed with a dunk off a pass from

Galloway to finish off the 9-2 run.

”It was a great game,” La Salle coach John Giannini said. ”We

did a lot of things right to give ourselves a chance to win.”

Temple improved to 3-0 against city opponents and will face

Saint Joseph’s on Saturday night.

The Owls might be playing their last season in the Atlantic 10.

Reports surfaced earlier in the day that Temple and the Big East

are talking about the Owls rejoining the conference for all sports

as soon as next season.