Lavoy Allen and Micheal Eric scored 33 points combined in last month’s 73-46 win against Saint Joseph’s. The teams meet again this Saturday.
The last time junior forward Lavoy Allen and sophomore forward/center Micheal Eric scored more than 30 combined points was back on Jan. 6, when the men’s basketball team opened the Atlantic Ten Conference portion of its schedule with a win against Saint Joseph’s. In last Saturday’s 78-56 win against Rhode Island, Allen and Eric combined for 36 points and shot a combined 17-for-20 on the day. Eric scored a career-high and game-high 19 points. He had 17 points at halftime, when Temple led by 20 points.
This week, the No. 21-ranked Temple men’s basketball team (20-5 overall, 8-2 A-10) faces two teams who are a combined 6-14 in the A-10 in St. Bonaventure and the Big 5 rival Hawks.
In the 73-46 win against St. Joe’s at the Liacouras Center at the beginning of January, the Owls dominated inside, much like they did versus Rhode Island. Temple outscored the Rams 50-14 in the paint and pulled down 11 more rebounds. In the first matchup with the Hawks, Allen and Eric combined to score 33 points. Allen added 11 rebounds, and the Owls outrebounded the Hawks, 49-25, despite Allen sitting on the bench to start the game after arriving 10 minutes late for a film session.
Temple ranks fourth in the conference in rebounding margin at +4.1, while St. Joe’s sits dead last at -7.5. Defensively, while Temple ranks first in the A-10 and allows just 57.5 points per game, the Hawks rank 12th in the 14-team conference. They allow almost 75 points per game, which negates the four additional points per game they average compared to the Owls. No St. Joe’s players scored in double figures in the previous matchup, though on the season, senior guards Darrin Govins and Garrett Williamson and junior forward Idris Hilliard each average more than double digits.
The Owls will be seeking their seventh consecutive win against the Hawks Saturday in a game that will count in the Big 5 standings. With a win, the Owls would have only one game remaining, Feb. 28 at La Salle, that would separate them from the city crown.
More importantly, though, a win against the Hawks (9-16 overall, 3-8 A-10) would provide the Owls with momentum entering their Feb. 24 matchup against Dayton. While Temple sits in a three-way tie for second place in the A-10 with Charlotte and Xavier, Dayton, the preseason favorite, is in fifth. The Flyers lost to St. Joe’s, 60-59, back on Jan. 23 in the midst of a Hawks three-game winning streak. Most recently, the Hawks have lost four of their last five games, including a loss to A-10 leader Richmond. St. Joe’s did beat Temple’s mid-week opponent, St. Bonaventure, though.
St. Joe’s is 1-9 away from Hagan Arena this season, though this game will be held at the Palestra. The Hawks are 1-2 at neutral-site games. The Owls defeated Penn at the Palestra on Jan. 13 and won one of the two games they played there in the Philly Hoop Group Classic during Thanksgiving break. Tipoff Saturday is at noon. The game will also be televised locally on Comcast SportsNet.
Jennifer Reardon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.