Photo: Temple University Athletics
While La Salle and Temple were not off to a high-scoring start in their Wednesday Night Big 5 matchup, the first half set the tone for an intense back-and-forth battle.
Khalil Brantley teed off a three-point shot for the first score, countered by Hysier Miller getting to the basket on the other end.
The scoring started slow, but Anwar Gil scored six points early into the game while providing energy on the defensive end. Jordan Riley led Temple early on with 5 by the second media timeout — his team was 0-6 from three halfway through the first half despite their incredible defensive effort, keeping them within striking distance.
Temple would take the lead around the halfway mark, thanks to a Zion Stanford fast break bucket. The Owls kept La Salle’s defense at bay, putting three Explorers in foul trouble early.
La Salle responded with consecutive threes from Jhamir Brickus and Tunde Fasasi to retake the lead by the third media timeout — Fasasi came out of the media timeout and bombed another long ball to make it three straight threes for the Explorers.
Miller hit a short banker off the glass, which turned into an and-one, tallying him 9 points by the final media timeout of the first half. He would come out of the media timeout and score again to total 11 with three minutes until the half.
Brickus came down for a substantial and-one play until La Salle turned it over the next possession, leading to a Matteo Picarelli three to put Temple back up 31-30.
Brickus led La Salle at the half with 11 points to Miller’s 11 for Temple.
La Salle began the second half on an 8-0 run fueled by Brickus to push La Salle’s lead to f5 by the first commercial break.
Jordan Riley responded with a converted and-one, but that didn’t matter as Brantley calmed the crowd with a tough layup to balloon La Salle’s lead to 6.
Zion Stanford took a hard drive to the bucket to cap off a 6-0 run that gave Temple the lead around 9:48 left in the game. Stanford then nailed a three to push Temple’s lead out further.
Steve Settle canned a three out of the third media timeout extending Temple’s lead to five — Gil had other plans, as he leaked out early in transition to convert the and-one.
Riley would hit four free throws to inflate Temple’s lead to 6 with 1:35 to play.
Brantley dropped in a quick layup to cut the deficit to four with 49 seconds to go to give La Salle a fighting chance. Shepherd then drew a foul for two free throws but missed both. La Salle saved the loose ball, then found Brickus’ hands, who drove for another layup to cut Temple’s lead to two.
Brickus took advantage of Matteo Piccarelli splitting a pair of free throws and came down on the other end to hit the game-tying three with 5.7 remaining — leading to overtime on North Broad street.
Overtime didn’t see a field goal for two minutes until Brickus completed a spectacular and-one play. He would hit a few more circus shots but Temple would force a turnover by Brickus, then drew a foul from him, putting Miller at the line who would split the pair.
La Salle took advantage on the other end when Brickus drew a double to kick to Brantley for another enormous three with under a minute to play. Miller and Brickis then got into a scuffle which warranted a technical against Miller — he starred at Brickus after he shouted in his face — putting Miller on the bench with his fifth foul.
Brickus hit both free throws to keep a three-point lead. Quante Berry tossed up a contested three that fell, cutting La Salle’s lead to one point until Temple had to foul intentionally. Brickus would hit both to push the lead back to three with 6.7 to go.
Temple came down on the other end with a three from Settle to send us into a second overtime.
Stanford would foul out in the second overtime period with 15 points, shortening the Temple rotation late into the second OT. Berry charged down the floor after a stop with a teardrop score to tie things at 89.
On the other end, Brickus forced a jumper, but the offensive board was tracked down by Brantly, who then nailed a critical two of his own to put La Salle back up. Temple had all the chances to win it…but was forced to a third overtime.
Steve Settle would knock out La Salle’s center, Rokas Jocius, with five fouls putting Temple up with an and-one conversion. La Salle tried to return the favor, but Shepherd was out of bounds. Temple took advantage with a backdoor cut from Taj Thweatt that Berry set up to put the Owls up by 4.
Thweatt continued to provide intense emergency minutes with five Owls fouling out, thrusting Temple into a five-point cushion.
Brickus would foul out with a reach-in, but he was spectacular, with 41 points setting a new career high.
Temple would win this triple overtime slog-fest 106-99 to head to the Big 5 championship game.
Brickus’ 41 was spectacular, Brantley added 29 of his own, but no other Explorer reached double figures.
Miller (20 points) and Riley (16 points) did their thing, but Steve Settle totaled 19 and 16 for Temple. Quante Berry added 13 off the bench, and despite five Owls fouling out, Adam Fisher’s group found a way.
Temple will play St. Joe's this Saturday in the inaugural Big 5 Championship Game.