College basketball has returned to the city of Philadelphia. In a fun way to kick off the 2018-19 season, we got to experience a Big 5 showdown as the La Salle Explorers took on the Temple Owls at the Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University in North Philadelphia on Tuesday night. La Salle came into the opening night’s challenge led by a new head coach named Ashley Howard. For the Temple Owls, this is the final season for head coach Fran Dunphy.
Temple started the game out slowly in the first couple of minutes with both teams showing plenty of that summer rust. However, as the half wore on, they were able to shake that and began playing better offensively and competing a lot harder than the beginning minutes of the game.
Sophomore Nate Pierre-Louis led Temple (1-0) to a 75-67 victory over the crosstown rival La Salle (0-1). Pierre-Louis ended up almost doubling his previous career high of 7 rebounds by grabbing 13 boards and scored 14 points on 4 of 6 shooting, as well as 2 for 2 from long range.
The Owls of Temple made 26 free throws which went a long way in boosting them to the win. Senior guard Shizz Alston Jr. scored 13 points and added a game-high eight assists.
The scoring leader for the Owls was junior Quinton Rose with 15 points, while hitting 6 of 8 at the charity stripe and finishing with 2 steals.
The Explorers jumped out to an early lead, capped off by a 7-0 run that increased La Salle’s lead to 9 with 15 minutes to go in the first half.
Temple kept focused and hit 5 of 6 at the line in a 7-0 run to pull in front by two.
Three ties followed, and the score was knotted at 28 going into halftime.
After another tie at 30 early in the second half, Pierre-Louis scored five straight points in an 8-0 run that put the Owls in good shape for the rest of the game.
Pierre-Louis hit his second bucket at the 12:10 mark to give Temple a 49-37 edge and its largest lead of the game to that point. The next possession, Temple drained another 3 and they were able to more-or-less cruise to victory from there.
In the final 26 seconds of the game, Alston made 4-of-4 free throws and Rose hit a pair to officially seal the victory.
Up next, the Temple Owls will play their second of four straight home games on Friday, November 9, hosting Detroit Mercy in the GotPrint.com Legends Classic. The game will be streaming on ESPN3, or you can listen to the game on 1210 AM WPHT.
Up next for La Salle is at home against Lafayette on Saturday, November 10. This game will be televised on ESPN+ with a 3:00 pm ET start.