In true Philly fashion, Drexel and Temple meet at the only venue that city games should be played, The Palestra. However, the game almost seems secondary. Fran Dunphy, one of the great coaches of my era will coach his last game at The Palestra, a venue that has much relevance in his career.
Dunphy played at La Salle, when La Salle used the Palestra as their home. Dunphy’s first head coaching job was for the University of Pennsylvania. For 17 years, The Palestra was Dunphy’s home. When he moved down the road to take the Temple job, the Palestra visits were less frequent. This will be Dunphy’s 20th and final visit to the Palestra as head coach of Temple. He is a terrific coach. He deserves every bit of praise that will be written. When his name is announced as head coach of Temple, he deserves a standing ovation, a very long standing ovation. He stands for all that is good about college hoops.
Drexel sacrificing their home game allows Coach Dunphy one more game at a place that he once ruled. Even if Drexel loses the game, for scheduling this game at The Palestra, they are winners.
Not much has changed with Dunphy over the years. With excellent senior point guard Shizz Allston running the show, you can bet that Dunphy’s need to treasure each possession will be followed. In their comeback overtime win over Davidson last Saturday, Allston had 11 assists and only 1 turnover. That is your typical Dunphy team. They will run motion, they will NOT turn it over, and unfortunately, they will take some less than stellar shots.
Uber talented Quinton Rose is the main culprit. If Dunphy can get him to tone it down, this is one of his more talented teams (This may sound familiar to Drexel fans). Unfortunately the AAC looks to have many excellent teams this year. A solid record will be hard to come by. The committee has screwed this conference historically. Temple will need to win their share of close ones to get an at large bid and send their legendary coach out in a deserving manner. They certainly can not afford a slip up here.
The Palestra seems to have a way of creating unexpected excitement. Exam time can also bring some strange results. It is hard to imagine Drexel having much chance here, but yet… While they have inferior talent to the AAC’s Temple, Temple is coming off a riveting win over Davidson. They have a big conference opener next. The Davidson win was a week ago. Their conference opener is Jan 2. Temple should be very ready, but this sandwich spot between big games and the emotion of today could make things a bit interesting. The Palestra needs to work its magic, the spot come up soft for Temple, or Drexel is in over their heads.
Temple 78 Drexel 66