Just 1.5 miles separate the Philly college rivals Penn and Temple. On Saturday, though, the teams were usually separated by double-digits.
Despite the Quakers' victorious 66-59, the last time these two teams met, this time, they would leave North Philly winless in Big Five play. Penn (3-8) fell to Temple (5-3), 81-72. Despite the recent Temple injury of sophomore guard Khalif Battle, who had been averaging 20 points per game, the Quakers couldn't take care of the Owls.
"Nothing against Battle, but after his injury, Temple's offense just became so much more dynamic. And we are just not a competent basketball team right now, so we really struggled," coach Steve Donahue said.
Temple won the opening tip, and junior forward Jake Forrester converted a second-chance attempt. Jonah Charles hit a three to give Penn its only lead of the period, but freshman guard Quincy Ademokoya hit a three to give the Owls the lead — a lead they would maintain throughout the quarter. On two occasions, the Owls led by 12, and their largest lead of the half was 15. The Quakers were missing sophomore guard Clark Slajchert, junior center Max Lorca-Lloyd, and freshman center Nick Spinoso, all of whom have seen significant minutes thus far for the Red and Blue.
"They're both probably done for the semester — Max [Lorca-Lloyd] Longer — and we also missed Clark [Slajchert] with COVID", Donahue said. "This was a top 130 team, and it was going to be a tough competition."
Jordan Dingle chipped in 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting with two threes, while redshirt freshman guard Damian Dunn had 17 points for the Owls on 6-of-9 shooting. Dingle leads all Ivy League scorers with 19.8 points per game this season. Senior forward Michael Wang struggled from the field, shooting just 1-of-6 from the field at the time. The Owls led by 12 at the half, 39-27.
"We didn't play up to our potential, and we are definitely better than what we showed today," sophomore guard Jordan Dingle said. "We've got to do a better job focusing on the details, stuff that we've been talking about. George did a good job stepping into his role today and made some good decisions."
In the second half, the Owls continued to keep their foot on the pedal, extending and not relinquishing their lead to the Red and Blue. Jordan Dingle had 12 points in the second half, finishing with 22 points total. Max Martz added 7 second-half points for a total contribution of 14 points. For the Owls, Dunn added 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting, while Forrester contributed a career-high 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting. The Owls' largest lead of the game was 20 points, occurring midway through the second half.
Penn managed to cut the Temple lead to 10 with just under four minutes to play on a layup by freshman guard George Smith, who saw extended action and produced five points.
"They got an offensive rebound – I think it was Forrester — and that gave them the momentum to carry on to win," Donahue said.
Wang banked in a fadeaway to trim the lead to 10 with 2:55 remaining. Wang improved his performance in the second half, finishing with 21 points. But the Owls were able to take advantage of their free-throw attempts, and they pulled away in the closing minutes.
"Michael Wang has been so hurt throughout his career with ups and downs, and we envision him as someone we want to get the ball to down low," Donahue said. "He had a really great second half, and I was really impressed with the way he played."
The Quakers will continue their Big Five slate of competition when they travel to play St. Joseph's (4-4) on Wednesday.
All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.