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A south New Jersey native, senior guard Darnell Foreman is undoubtedly motivated to finally get past local rival Temple in his last chance to do so.

Credit: Chase Sutton

Eleven years.

That's how long it's been since the last time Penn men's basketball defeated Temple in 2007 — which is also the year of the Quakers' last NCAA tournament appearance. 

Penn (12-5, 0-2 Big 5) heads into Saturday with a better record than its Big 5 rival, albeit against a weaker schedule. Temple (8-9, 1-2), has also competed more than its record necessarily indicates, as the Owls have lost six games by less than five points.

Still, behind the superb play of sophomores Ryan Betley and AJ Brodeur, the Quakers are confident they can take their first win over Temple in a decade. 

Even with the Owls' recent struggles, they still possess talented Philly product Shizz Alston, Jr. and an NBA prospect in forward Obi Enechionyia. Their athleticism will pose some trouble for the Quakers, but the Red and Blue are still looking at one of their best chances of taking down Temple in recent memory.

“Especially being [at Penn], we might not get as much respect as other Philadelphia schools,” senior captain and guard Darnell Foreman said. “That just adds another chip on our shoulder, it’s something else to prove.”

Foreman also noted how Philadelphia is known for its hard-nosed persona and tough style of play. With Temple historically known for its connection to the Philadelphia area's top talent, Foreman fully expects a physical game. 

“The first thing we have to do is defend and just compete,” Foreman said. “Don’t worry about how big or how athletic a guy is.”

One of the best ways to combat superior athleticism is to shoot well from deep. On the season, Penn collectively hits 35.6 percent from three-point range, with sharpshooters Betley and Caleb Wood each in the 40s.

Aside from what happens on the court, this game is also particularly important for coach Steve Donahue, who sees Temple coach Fran Dunphy as a mentor. Donahue spent 10 years as an assistant under Dunphy at Penn from 1990 to 2000 before moving onto Cornell. 

“It’s always fun for me to go against him,” Donahue said. “That being said, we’ll try and beat each other’s brains in for 40 minutes and then go back to being friends after."

At Penn, Dunphy was nothing short of phenomenal, winning 10 Ivy League championships in 17 seasons while compiling a winning record against every other school in the Ancient Eight.

Over the past four years, Donahue has been building a program he hopes can emulate the successes of the Dunphy era. Now, he seems to finally have the roster to do it — and that roster will be put to the test on Saturday.