The Penn men's basketball team heads for Temple, hoping to follow up on last year's win. The saying is supposed to go, "those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it." But the members of the Penn men's basketball team hope that history does repeat itself tonight at 7 p.m. when the Quakers face Temple at the Apollo. Last year Penn stunned the then-No. 6 Owls, beating them 73-70 in overtime. The circumstances are different, however, this season. Last year, the Quakers had the home-court advantage at the Palestra, and the contest was just the second game of the season for Penn. But perhaps the biggest difference between this year's game and last year's contest is the presence of Pepe Sanchez, Temple's star point guard. The Quakers did not have to deal with the always-poised Sanchez last year, as he missed much of the season with an injured ankle. Sanchez's nagging ankle also caused him to miss much of this season as well, as he has played just five of Temple's 14 games. But the Argentina native is now back and averaging more than nine assists a game to go with more than five steals per game. With Sanchez healthy, the Owls appear to be at least as threatening as last year's squad, which advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament. "This was supposed to be a great year for us," Sanchez said. "Then we had the injuries, so it kind of slowed down the process of us becoming a good team. But we're all back together right now and we're starting to build our team." While Sanchez is a tremendous talent, the Quakers must concern themselves with more than just the Owls' point guard, as the Temple roster is littered with future NBA prospects. "I don't think we're going to do anything different with Pepe out there than we would if he wasn't playing," Penn co-captain Matt Langel said. "Pepe's a great player, he takes care of the ball real well and is a great defender, and we have to keep that in mind, and at the same time attack Temple." The Quakers must also watch out for Mark Karcher and Lynn Greer. Karcher, a power forward, is leading the team with an average of 16 points per game. Shooting guard Greer is close behind, averaging 14.6 points per contest. In last year's game, Greer filled in aptly for Sanchez, lighting up the Quakers for 23 points. Kevin Lyde and Lamont Barnes provide steady offense in the paint. "The inside is Karcher, it's Lyde, it's Barnes," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "We just want to not give them too many second-chance opportunities." While the Owls are ferocious on offense, defense is their trademark strength. In its last game against La Salle, Temple held the Explorers to just 12 points in the first half and 16 percent shooting en route to a 70-52 blowout. "Typically, their zone is very difficult to penetrate," Dunphy said. "But they play a very solid man-to-man when they go to it. They're very athletic." In last year's game Penn shot 56 percent from the field compared to Temple's 31 percent. But even with a good shooting night, sloppy play -- given Sanchez's notoriously quick hands and the Owls' stingy defense -- could spell trouble for the Quakers. "I don't know how you can work on preventing steals, but we've talked about it," Dunphy said. "Hopefully our guys will pay attention to that detail and be careful of their passes." The Quakers are also coming off a win, although not as convincing as Temple's 18-point differential. Over the weekend, Penn beat Lehigh 59-54. "I think gradually we're getting better," Dunphy said. "At Lehigh we played well defensively. Offensively, we did not shoot the ball very well. We need to shoot better from the perimeter and the foul line, and we gave up some easy baskets." While the Quakers expected a much-needed romp against the lowly Engineers, their confidence continues to improve. A win at Temple would be a huge emotional boost. "Temple is a great team," Langel said. "They've had some injuries early in the season and have lost some games they should have won, so to go out and compete and get a win against them would be a great win for us." Interestingly, the Quakers do not believe that revenge will be on the Owls' minds tonight -- despite last year's game. "I don't think they'll be out for revenge," Langel said. "Anytime you play a city game, you want to win the game. They have a few local guys who know the significance of the game, but they'll just come out and play hard like they do every game." In other words, Temple approaches every game with the same intensity and desire. "I think coach Chaney always has his guys on a very even keel," Dunphy said. "They don't ever get too high after a win or too low after a loss. That's a signature of his basketball." The Quakers need a win to finish at .500 in the Big 5. Thus far this season, Penn is 0-2 in Big 5 games, while Temple is 2-0. In December, the Owls -- minus Sanchez -- beat Villanova 69-66, while Penn lost to 'Nova on a buzzer beater on January 9. The Quakers' other Big 5 loss came against La Salle on December 7.Comments powered by Disqus
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