With every major Philadelphia basketball team playing, only Villanova not in action, it was officially Ball
Night for the Philadelphia Sports Scene. Huge upsets, historic milestones, overtime wins, blowouts, and the city going 6-0 made it a great night for all, regardless of where your basketball allegiances lie.
Normally I'd start with the Sixers, being that they are the professional team, but how can you overlook the top college game featured on ESPN!
Duke #3 (12-2, 0-2 away) vs Temple (10-3, 4-0 home)
After nine straight losses to Duke, Temple upset the nations #3 ranked team in Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
The front court match-up featured the Blue Devil's Plumlee boys beating up on a smaller Temple lineup that played four guards for most of the game. Miles dominated inside in the first half and Mason in the second. But the speed of the Owls guards provided a greater advantage for Fran Dunphy's squad, as they simply out-hustled Duke and were able to smoother Coach K's leading scorers Austin Rivers and Seth Curry.
Temple lead by two at the half and Coach Krzyzewski had to call a timeout one minute and 21 seconds into the second half as the Owls extended their lead to six. His team responded, coming out in a flurry, but Temple's defense stayed in the passing lanes and got their guards out in transition.
Keys to victory: Khalif Wyatt lead the team with 22 points and five steals, the team shot 56% for the game with five players scoring in double digits, and great perimeter defense.
Next up: Saturday, Dayton Flyers
Sixers (3-2) vs Hornets (2-4)
Doug Collins brings a balanced attack, evidenced by six Sixers scoring in double figures, and clearly defines roles for his players. Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams, along with Evan Turner's greatly improved play thus far, gives Philadelphia one of the most coveted advantages this NBA season. Depth. Not to mention youth, athleticism, scoring, and speed. Jrue Holiday now has a firm grasp as the team's leader. Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand are the elder statesman who can do a little of everything and are capable of going off on any given night. Finally, with Spencer Hawes stepping up, they finally have an inside presence.
Their youth and depth should provide an advantage as they have four home games in the next five days before a showdown with the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on January 11th.
Mo' Traded: The Sixers traded Marreese Speights to the Memphis Grizzlies (now without Zach Randolph for 6-8 weeks) as part of a three team deal. Memphis moved Xavier Henry to the Hornets and in return the Sixers get the Hornets second round pick in 2013 and a protected second round pick from the Grizzlies in 2012.
Philadelphia will also get a $2.72 million trade exception -- the equivalent to Speights' 2011-12 salary. Speights spot in the rotation will be filled by youngsters Nikola Vucevic and Craig Brackins, as well as soon to be 36 year old Tony Battie.
Next up: Friday, Detroit Pistons
Penn (7-8) vs Lafayette (5-10)
It certainly wasn't a defensive battle in Easton, PA Wednesday night between Penn and Lafayette. There were 15 lead changes as both teams shot around 50% from the field, 40% from beyond the arc, and 90% from the free throw line.
The hosting Tigers led by three at the half and kept up their hot shooting as they had a stretch of seven straight three pointers. But Zack Rosen scored 24 points and had four assists, becoming the program's all-time leader in that category with 506. The previous record holder, Head Coach Jerome Allen, got to watch from the sideline while his senior captain brought the team back. Penn dominated the lane, outscoring Lafayette 30-16 in the paint.
Six consecutive made free throws from Rosen (4-4) and Tyler Bernardini (2-2) sealed the win for the Quakers.
Rosen, leading the Ivy League in points and assists per game, is now a Semi-Finalist for the Cousy Award. He is the only Ivy or Big 5 guard of the 20 players remaining.
Next up: Tuesday, La Salle Explorers
Lady Quakers: It is worth mentioning that Penn's Women's basketball team has gotten off to a fantastic start at 7-3 and features one of the best female players in the Ivy League and Big 5, sophomore Alyssa Baron (http://www.pennathletics.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=1700&ATCLID=204970462). They also have the four-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week, including three in a row in one stretch, Kara Bonenberger.
Xavier (9-5) vs La Salle (11-4)
La Salle 80
A season high 23 points from Earl Pettis helped lead the Explorers to a win in their A-10 opener. With under a minute to play and La Salle's lead cut to five, Devon White came through down the stretch with a dunk and a pair of free throws. Ultimately, Xavier's 14 turnovers to La Salle's seven were too much for the Musketeers to overcome.
These teams are heading in different directions as La Salle has won four straight and nine of their last 10 contests, while Xavier is 1-5 since there brawling victory over Cincinnati.
Next up: Sunday, UMass Minutemen
Saint Joseph's (11-4) vs Duquesne (9-6)
Saint Joseph's 84
Next up: Saturday, Charlotte 49ers
Towson (0-15) vs Drexel (9-5)
Next up: Sunday, VCU Rams