Josh Brown has played in plenty of Big 5 games during his time at Temple.
The redshirt-senior guard had a feeling Sunday’s game against La Salle at Tom Gola Arena would go down to the wire.
Redshirt-junior guard Pookie Powell drilled a 3-pointer over Brown to extend La Salle’s lead to two points with less than a minute remaining. Redshirt-senior forward B.J. Johnson then drilled two free throws and blocked Brown on a late layup attempt as the Explorers beat Temple 87-83.
Powell and Johnson combined for 54 points on 50 percent shooting in the victory for the Explorers.
“We just didn’t pull it out,” Brown said. “They did a good job making big plays on both ends of the floor.”
“Powell was terrific,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “That last three that he shot was spectacular. It was a really hard shot, I thought we guarded that pretty well.”
Temple led by nine points with 10 minutes, 57 seconds left in the game, but back-to-back turnovers let the Explorers walk back into the game.
Sophomore guard Quinton Rose tried to make a pass to sophomore guard Alani Moore II on the wing, but Johnson jumped the pass. Johnson missed a layup on the fast break, but sophomore guard Isiah Deas followed up the miss and scored two points.
Moore II then turned the ball over two possessions later. He tried to make a pass to sophomore center Damion Moore, but there was a miscommunication on the play. La Salle sophomore guard Saul Phiri dished it to Powell on the fastbreak who scored a layup to tie the game at 66 with 7:29 remaining.
Temple had 13 turnovers to La Salle’s four. The Explorers scored 15 points off Temple’s turnovers. Rose committed a team-high five turnovers.
“I have to live with some of the things that he does,” Dunphy said. “But there are a couple of things that I wish he would not have done today. But we’ll work on it, he’ll work on it. He’ll be better the next time.”
Pookie Powell, BJ Johnson, John Giannini https://t.co/d2OCqIVk9P
— Evan Easterling (@Evan_Easterling) November 27, 2017
Senior forward Obi Enechionyia entered the game two points away from becoming the 52nd Temple player to reach 1,000 career points. With 10:24 left in the first half, Enechionyia went to dunk on a fastbreak, but Johnson fouled him from behind to prevent the slam.
Enechionyia sank both of his attempts from the free-throw line to achieve the milestone. He finished the game with 16 points on five rebounds. He shot 4-for-5 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Enechionyia’s only miss from 3-point range came with 2:22 left in the game. Redshirt-senior guard Amar Stukes gave La Salle its first lead, 80-79, on the following possession after drilling two free-throw attempts.
Temple held the lead for 92 percent of the game.
Though Rose committed costly turnovers down the stretch, including two in the final minute, he had a team-high 21 points on 10-of-17 shooting.
Rose displayed the ability to shoot off the dribble several times against La Salle.
Deas and Powell cut Temple’s lead to six points, 37-31, with 2:24 left in the second quarter, but Rose went on a run of his own. Rose hit three consecutive shots to give Temple an eight-point lead. He finished the first half scoring eight of Temple’s final 10 points.
“[Rose] can make some plays,” Dunphy said. “He’s a good basketball player and a good playmaker. But he’s got to take a little bit better care of the ball.”