With Penn basketball set to face Temple Saturday, we look back at the top 10 greatest Penn-Temple showdowns of all time.
10. Jan. 8, 1974 – Penn 43, Temple 42
Penn triumphed on the heels of John Beecroft and John Engles in this low-scoring affair. Engles’ two free throws cut the lead to one with less than two minutes remaining. With 25 seconds left, Beecroft sank a 15-footer to give Penn the 43-42 victory in a classic Big 5 Battle. This was the first of several close victories over the Quakers to come throughout the decade.
9. Jan. 21, 1976 – Penn 55, Temple 52
Although Temple came in on a nine-game losing streak, the Owls gave Penn a run for their money. In a classic Penn comeback, John Engles scored 22 points and Kevin McDonald scored 18 points to give the Quakers a 55-52 victory over the Owls at the Palestra. This was Penn’s fourth-straight victory over Temple in a string of 1970s dominance in the historic rivalry.
8. Jan. 20, 1971 – Penn 62, Temple 48
Undefeated Penn trailed Temple, 22-19, at halftime. But Dave Wohl, Bob Morse, and current Athletic Director Steve Bilsky led the Quakers on a second-half shooting streak for 11 consecutive points in the final three minutes of the game. Penn’s 62-48 victory was the first of many more wins over the Owls during the 1970s and early 1980s.
7. Dec. 8, 2004 – Temple 52, Penn 51
In a back and forth battle, Penn’s Eric Osmundson scored 20 points on the road with six three-pointers, giving Penn a five-point lead with three minutes left. But Temple fought back, and the Owls’ Marty Collins went to the free throw line with his team down by one after being fouled with four seconds remaining. Collins drained both shots to give Temple a stunning 52-51 victory.
6. Nov. 28, 1989 – Temple 55, Penn 54
Penn entered the game an underdog to No. 16 Temple, but Big 5 games often go down to the wire. Sharpshooting guard Paul Chambers kept Penn in the game with critical shots, including a bucket with less than two minutes to put Penn within one point of the Owls. Penn had a chance to pull off the upset with a circus shot from forward Vince Curran, but the shot missed wide right, allowing Temple to escape a packed Palestra 55-54.
5. Feb. 14, 1995 – Temple 59, Penn 56
In front of a sold out Palestra crowd on Valentine’s Day, Penn came up short its effort to break a 13-game losing streak to the Owls. Current Penn coach Jerome Allen and the rest of the Quakers did not score in the final 4:43 of the game, but Penn found itself with the ball down three points in the closing seconds. Penn turned the ball over in a last second scramble to get up a tying try, allowing Temple to escape from the Palestra with 59-56 victory.
4. Nov. 14, 2011 – Temple 73, Penn 67 (OT)
Penn’s Zack Rosen contributing 27 points, six rebounds and six assists, but it still wasn’t enough. Temple triumphed over Penn, 73-67 in overtime with the help of senior guard Juan Fernandez and his 19 points. The teams went into halftime tied, and the second half proved to be even tighter as neither team could seem to break away. Fernandez’s stellar overtime play put the Owls over the top for the victory.
3. Feb. 9, 1983 – Temple 61, Penn 53 (2OT)
Penn took a late two-point lead late on a Paul Little bucket, and Temple found itself with the ball with two seconds remaining. The Owls then ran the classic “Jack in the Box” play and threw a three-quarters court Hail Mary of an inbound pass to Terence Stansbury, who caught the ball, elevated, and drained a 17-foot jumper to send the game to overtime. Temple would go on the defeat the Quakers, 61-53, in double overtime.
2. Nov. 23, 1998 – Penn 73, Temple 70 (OT)
Temple came into the Palestra ranked No. 7 in the nation, but Penn ultimately prevailed over the Owls in overtime, 73-70. The win was Penn’s first over Temple since Feb. 1982. Penn’s Michael Jordan scored 22 points, including the game-clinching free throws in overtime, in a heroic effort resulting in Penn faithful storming the court to celebrate with the team.
1. Jan. 24, 2007 – Penn 76, Temple 74
Longtime Penn coach Fran Dunphy returned to the Palestra for the first time as coach of the Owls in this memorable game, but he left disappointed as the Quakers rallied from down 19 points on the backs of Ibrahim Jaaber and Mark Zoller, who scored 21 and 19 points, respectively, to defeat the Owls. Despite Temple star Dionte Christmas scoring 34 points, Zoller and the Quakers had the last laugh as Zoller was fouled on a three-pointer with 1.4 seconds remaining. Zoller drained all three from the stripe for a 76-74 victory, followed by Penn fans rushing the court in jubilation.
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