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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Temple tops Penn State in thriller

 

McKale Center’s version of March Madness got underway with a bang Thursday, when Temple University defeated in-state foe Pennsylvania State University 66-64 behind Juan Fernandez’s last-second jumper.

“”We wanted to get the ball to Juan (Fernandez),”” Temple head coach Fran Dunphy said. “”If he wasn’t able to get something, then we were going to look for Ramone (Moore).””

Fernandez scored 23 points after a blazing start that saw the junior guard go 6-of-7 from the field while knocking down all three of his free throw attempts in the first half, leading Temple (26-7) with 17 points heading into the break.

His final attempt came from 18 feet and off-balance, but Fernandez wasn’t worried about the type of look he got.

“”You can’t practice shots like that,”” he said.

The game featured 20 lead changes and eight ties — the last of which came on a three-pointer taken from at least five feet behind the line by Penn State’s Talor Battle to knot the score at 64 with 11.4 seconds remaining.

“”I just wanted to get an open look that wasn’t contested,”” Battle said. “”Every shot I took, I had someone in my face, so I just wanted to get a good look at the basket. I didn’t care how deep it was.””

Battle didn’t leave the floor for the Nittany Lions (19-15), scoring a team-high 23 points and dishing out three assists.

Penn State wasn’t able to get a few shots in the paint to fall, partly due to the defensive ability of Temple’s Lavoy Allen. 

Allen, a senior from Morrisville, Pa., rejected three Penn State shots down the stretch — setting up the opportunity for Fernandez’s game-winner.

Would Arizona beat Temple?

Yes.

While Allen’s size and athleticism might pose a few problems for Derrick Williams in the paint, Williams has been able to effectively attack teams who only throw one defender his way. If Allen were to get into foul trouble, the Owls don’t have anyone else that would be able to challenge Williams.

Arizona’s size across the board would also frustrate Temple, especially since the Owls like to slow the pace down. Kyle Fogg’s defensive ability would be able to slow down Fernandez, who showed himself to be either hot or cold without much middle ground.

Barring a performance mirroring the game played at Oregon State earlier this year, Arizona should be able to handle Temple if the two schools were to meet in a potential Elite Eight matchup.

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