Jack Eggleston could barely get any words out.
His Quakers had just fallen to Temple, 73-56, Wednesday night at the Liacouras Center. It was Eggleston and his fellow seniors’ 15th-career Big 5 loss, and Penn’s (5-8, 0-3 Big 5) 16th in a row dating back to 2007.
“Coming into my Penn career, if you told me I’d be sitting here, 0-15, I would’ve said ‘you’re crazy.’ I hate it,” Eggleston said.
The loss to Temple (13-4, 1-1) resembled the Quakers’ first Big 5 loss of the season, a hard-fought 65-53 defeat to Villanova. Penn arguably outplayed the then-No. 12 Wildcats in that game, falling prey mainly to Corey Stokes’ lights-out 34-point performance
This time, it was Temple’s Khalif Wyatt who came off the bench to play the role of gamechanger. The sophomore guard filled the stat sheet, shooting 9-for-13 from the field (including 4-for-6 from three) en route to his career-high 27 points.
“The coaches were just telling me to come off the bench and be aggressive, and my teammates were telling me the same thing,” Wyatt said. “So I just came off the bench, and I wasn’t shy to shoot the ball, and today it was just going in so I just kept shooting it.”
For Temple and former Penn coach Fran Dunphy, who thought the Quakers outshined his Owls, Wyatt was clearly the difference in the game.
“I don’t think we played as well as Penn played,” Dunphy said. “I thought they played hard. I thought they defended us well for the most part. We got lucky with Khalif having a game like he had today.”
Wyatt wasted no time getting started, scoring on his first possession upon entering the game. Then, with 5:31 to go in the first half and Penn hanging on to a two-point deficit, the Norristown, Pa., native went on a personal 10-point scoring run. He capped it off with a transition trifecta after a Zack Rosen turnover that put the Owls on their way to a 36-26 halftime lead.
That play was emblematic of the Quakers’ struggles in the first half. They committed 13 turnovers compared to only eight field goals and finished the game with 23 miscues to Temple’s 13. The Owls scored 28 points off Penn turnovers, 17 in the first half.
“I guess it was a combination of both Temple’s defense and Penn’s sloppiness,” coach Jerome Allen said. “Their pressure really didn’t bother us — it’s just that our composure at times when we needed to be composed wasn’t there. The game is not 34 minutes long; it’s 40 minutes long. Those last six minutes, things kind of got away from us.”
Penn managed to curtail the turnovers early in the second frame and trailed by just eight with 6:09 remaining before Temple pulled away. Wyatt answered a Tyler Bernardini three pointer with another of his own to spark an eight-point run and expand the lead to 18.
“We’ve had some tough losses,” Eggleston said. “I wouldn’t say this one’s any tougher than any other ones. It’s just tough.”
Eggleston and the seniors go up against St. Joseph’s on Saturday — their one final opportunity to taste city-series success.
Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.