Before the game, Dad and I went over to Dalessandro's in Roxborough for steaks. (That'd be cheesesteaks. Yes, with Cheese Whiz. Those of you elsewhere in the country, particularly the Northwest, please don't judge us.) With no room at the inn, we wolfed them down in the car and then drove down Henry Avenue to Allegheny Avenue on our way to Broad Street.
On Allegheny we passed Philadelphia University, formerly known as the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences. Though Textiles was D-II, they would occasionally appear as part of the Big Five Doubleheaders at the Palestra back before most of the Big Five teams erected their own larger home arenas. The Textile Rams won the 1969-70 Division II Men's Basketball Championship under Coach Herb McGee, a 2011 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee.
With several hours to kill, we stopped at the Draught Horse for a couple of beers and to watch the Flyers (not those Flyers, though both would get a win today). Eventually, the novelty of hanging out on North Broad Street on/near Temple's campus will wear off for my father, a man who lived on campus one year and commuted for several others to earn his degree like many of the other Night Owls. Until that time, we'll still leisurely stroll the surrounding blocks while he complains about the loss of abandoned lots previously used for parking. Ah, the costs of gentrification. Back at the Horse, I had Arcadia IPA and a Coronado IPA, while my father had a Longhammer IPA and a Magic Hat Encore IPA. Can you spot the family resemblance?
Settling into our seats 30 minutes before the tip we noticed the conspicuous absence of students. Not a good sign. In general, attendance was pretty mediocre with the exception of a hardcore group of Flyer Faithful (yes, those ones) congregating in the upper bowl behind the Dayton bench. There were definitely more Dayton fans in attendance than Villanova fans earlier this season.
Both teams played well out of the gate. Oddly, with the Owls building a lead in the first half, coach Fran Dunphy initiated several unique substitution patterns, threatening the on-court chemistry. On the other side, Dayton's coach Archie Miller judiciously called timeouts and adjusted his defense to extend out to the perimeter, further cooling the Owls and leading to a tie game at the half.
Much of the second half looked like a mirror image of the first, with the teams trading three-pointers followed by cold spells from the floor after a TV timeout. Though Temple built a modest lead, Dayton snapped out of their spell first to go ahead late. The Flyers would retain that lead by hitting 90 percent of their free throws while only fouling the Owls five times in the second half. All game long, Dayton seemed to settle in and play smart by working the ball through the paint on offense. Meanwhile, Temple seemed all too willing to force things on their end. Looking to draw fouls, the guards played sloppy in the interior and the big man (intentionally singular) played too far outside the paint to make a difference.
At this point in the season, if I was in an Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Fantasy League, I would pick up any power forward or center playing the Owls until center Michael Eric gets back later this month. That's not a knock against Anthony Lee (who did pick up some goofy fouls trying to drive the ball to the basket from 17 feet), but just a recognition that Temple is having trouble with interior defense. Dayton was able to set the tone down low even without Josh Benson. While Matt Kavanaugh earned the ire of an increasingly hostile Owl crowd (probably for posting up with limbs akimbo in the half court set), Chris Johnson posted a double-double. You don't have to be a Plumlee right now to rack up stats inside against Temple.
(Side note about my proposed Atlantic 10 Fantasy League: assuming Tu Holloway can't be chosen since Xavier is left out, I would have been a complete homer and grabbed Ramone Moore with my first pick. Then I would watch the away games at home on my computer and obnoxiously scream "Gimme some Moore!" every time he touched the ball. Maybe for the sake of my marriage it's a good thing this league doesn't exist. Yet. Also, I would refuse to choose any Hawks or Explorers on principle, though C.J. Aiken would have been a sweet late-round pick up for blocks.)
Looking at the big picture for the conference, this loss certainly hurts Temple. With the A-10 tough from top to bottom this year there won't be many easy wins, and next they travel to St. Louis and then on to Richmond. More consequentially for the Dayton Flyers, two wins over two of their likely contenders (St. Louis, Temple) for the regular-season title is a big boost as they go through a front-loaded conference schedule. While Temple isn't scared yet, they can't afford another timid performance.
DAYTON 87, at TEMPLE 77 01/07/2012
DAYTON 12-4 (2-0) -- P. Williams 3-13 2-2 9; K. Dillard 4-10 6-6 16; C. Johnson 4-10 3-3 12; J. Parker 4-7 5-6 16; M. Kavanaugh 6-9 2-2 14; L. Fabrizius 5-8 0-0 13; A. Gavrilovic 3-3 0-0 6; D. Oliver 0-2 1-2 1; R. Hill 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-62 19-21 87. TEMPLE 10-4 (0-1) -- R. Hollis-Jefferson 3-4 0-0 6; K. Wyatt 9-21 5-6 28; R. Moore 7-17 1-4 17; J. Fernandez 6-11 0-0 15; A. Brown 2-7 0-0 5; A. Lee 2-2 0-0 4; T. DiLeo 0-0 0-0 0; W. Cummings 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 29-62 8-12 77.
Three-point goals: UD 10-21 (P. Williams 1-5; J. Parker 3-5; C. Johnson 1-2; L. Fabrizius 3-5; K. Dillard 2-4), TU 11-25 (R. Moore 2-7; J. Fernandez 3-4; K. Wyatt 5-10; A. Brown 1-4); Rebounds: UD 37 (C. Johnson 10), TU 23 (R. Jefferson 7); Assists: UD 16 (K. Dillard 6), TU 15 (J. Fernandez 4); Total Fouls -- UD 10, TU 20; Fouled Out: UD-None; TU-None.