NCAA

Fastbreak Friday: Villanova, St. Joe's look to stay unbeaten

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CSN

Fastbreak Friday: Villanova, St. Joe's look to stay unbeaten

CSN anchor/reporter Amy Fadool and producer Sean Kane get you set for all of the weekend's local college basketball games with Fastbreak Friday. Look for this column every Friday during the college basketball season. 

No. 3 Villanova (3-0) vs. Wake Forest (3-0), Today 1:30 p.m.

SK: Villanova takes on Wake Forest in the semifinals of the Charleston Classic on Friday afternoon. The Wildcats are seeking their fourth straight in-season tournament title after wins in the Battle for Atlantis in 2013, the Legends Classic in 2014 and the Preseason NIT last season.

Villanova was sluggish in Thursday's 11-point win over Western Michigan in the first round of the tournament. That can be excused given the 11:30 a.m. start time and the Wildcats' quick turnaround following Monday's hard-fought win at No. 15 Purdue. But Jay Wright likely isn't making those excuses for his team — he'll want to see a better effort on both ends of the floor against Wake Forest.

The Deamon Deacons hung 103 points on UTEP on Thursday and are averaging better than 92 points on the season. Danny Manning's team likes to push the tempo, something Villanova will welcome. 

Look for another big game out of Wildcats senior guard Josh Hart, who has looked very much deserving of the first team preseason All-American honor he received earlier this month. Hart is averaging 17 points and 5.0 rebounds and shooting an even 50 percent from the field.

Sophomore Eric Paschall has been effective off the bench for Villanova, chipping in a team-high 17 points in Thursday's win over Western Michigan. The Wildcats will need a similar effort from Paschall and fellow super-sub Mikal Bridges against Wake Forest.

Villanova 85, Wake Forest 76

Loyola-Chicago (3-0) vs. Saint Joseph’s (2-0), Today 12:30 p.m.

AF: The Hawks are in the sunny Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam. It’s a four-game tournament beginning Friday against Loyola of Chicago. St. Joe’s has come out of the gates with back-to-back wins to open the season. Not just that, Phil Martelli’s team is shooting 50 percent from the field. Yes, I know it’s a small sample size, but it’s a good start nonetheless. And speaking of, Lamarr Kimble and Shavar Newkirk are pacing the Hawks, averaging a combined 40 points a game. Hard to lose many games when you are posting numbers like those. 

I don’t know that Loyola is going to give the Hawks too much of a test in the opener of this tournament, but if St. Joe’s beats Loyola, they’d face the winner of Ole Miss-Oral Roberts. On the other side of the bracket, there are teams like N.C. State, Washington and Creighton. So there is some competition in this tournament.             

If you asked Martelli at the beginning of the season about his team, his answer (and I believe an honest one) was that he didn’t know. He lost some major scoring power as well as stability on the court with leadership and experience with the departures of DeAndre’ Bembry and Isaiah Miles. But Martelli may have found two players to pick up the scoring slack in Newkirk and Kimble. Kimble is a local product out of Neumann-Goretti high school in South Philly and was named to the A-10’s all rookie team last year. His early development is key for the Hawks to repeat the success they enjoyed last season.
    
While Loyola-Chicago is also undefeated, it has faced much lesser competition. The Ramblers are averaging 98.5 points a game through their first three, all at home, and hit the 100-point mark in their second win of the season. They also just beat Eureka 97-59. Eureka. If there was a name for a team that is everyone’s tune-up for the season, Eureka would be it, right?

Fun fact: both are Jesuit universities. The one from Philly wins this one.

Saint Joseph’s 78, Loyola-Chicago 67

Texas Southern (3-0) at La Salle (1-1), Saturday 3 p.m.

SK: Hard not to think of Aaric Murray when you first glance at this matchup. The talented and mercurial Murray played for both La Salle and Texas Southern during a college career that took him to three separate schools and led to him eventually playing overseas professionally.

Murray is out of sight and out of mind for Explorers fans, who have watched their team get off to a 1-1 start this season. A bitter overtime loss to Big 5 rival Temple on opening night was followed by a workmanlike win over Delaware. Saturday presents a chance for La Salle to climb over the .500 mark and I expect them to take advantage of it.

The Explorers' transfers have been as advertised through the first two games of the season. B.J. Johnson, Pookie Powell and Demetrius Henry have combined to average better than 40 points, each making his presence felt on both ends of the floor. Combine that trio with senior guard Jordan Price's scoring and La Salle has too much firepower for Texas Southern.

La Salle 79, Texas Southern 72

Penn (1-0) at Miami (2-0), Saturday 4 p.m.

SK: This is a tall order for Penn — on the road against a Miami team that advanced to the Sweet 16 last season. The Hurricanes lost quite a bit of scoring from last year's team but are still plenty talented. Junior guard Ja'Quan Newton leads the way, averaging 14.5 points and 4.5 assists through the season's first two games.

Newton's name is a familiar one to local basketball fans. He was a four-year star at Neumann-Goretti High School before deciding to (pardon the expression) take his talents to South Beach. Newton is part of a new pipeline that has emerged from Southeastern Pennsylvania to Miami — the Hurricanes just received a commitment from 5-star guard Lonnie Walker of Reading High School.

But back to the business at hand for Penn. Freshman big man A.J. Brodeur sure looked like a difference-maker in the Quakers' season-opening win at Robert Morris. Expect Brodeur to have another big impact performance against Miami, but it won't be quite enough as Penn drops it's first game of the season.

Miami 77, Penn 68

Hartford (1-2) at Drexel (0-2), Today 7 p.m.

AF: Drexel will be happy to see the friendly confines of the DAC this weekend when it welcomes Hartford. The Dragons are winless in their opening two games of the season, both on the road. Zach Spiker’s team has come out of the gates a bit flat in scoring, but it is early.  

Miles Overton went pretty cold in the loss to Rutgers, shooting just 2 for 14 for five points. More distressing to Spiker is probably the 38 percent overall shooting from his team, as well as the 13 turnovers to 14 assists. Neither of those are a recipe for a win. Luckily, Hartford is coming to town. The Hawks have just one win in their first three games and just lost by 16 to Rider. 

The player for the Dragons to watch out for on Hartford’s roster though is definitely Jalen Ross. The senior, in his second year for the Hawks after transferring in from Eastern Michigan, has scored in double figures for 17 straight games. He’s also posted 20-plus points two games in a row. Hartford’s issue has been defense. That’s not usually a problem for the Dragons, but they’ve allowed 78 and 87 points, respectively in their first two. Drexel has yet to reach 70 on the scoreboard. So this one likely will be a low scoring affair. But I think Drexel rewards their home fans with a win.

Drexel 70, Hartford 67

Manhattan (0-2) at Temple (1-2), Sunday 2 p.m.

AF: The Owls are reeling right now after opening the season with an exciting overtime win over La Salle. This week has seen back-to-back losses for Fran Dunphy’s crew starting Monday with the 57-52 defeat at the hands of New Hampshire. Perhaps that could have been overlooked as a blip on the radar if Temple hadn’t followed it up with another loss. This one on the road, so there is some solace in that I suppose. But leading by two points with under a minute to go usually bodes well for a win. Granted UMass got a bit lucky on its three-pointer to put the Minutemen ahead, but the Owls really dropped the ball on their final play to try and tie the game.

Next up, the Owls will try to get that bad taste out of their mouths with a win over Manhattan. The Jaspers come to the Liacouras Center winless on the young season, but they have a pretty tough schedule to open the season. That is typical of Steve Masiello, a disciple of Rick Pitino who’s a coach that enjoys tough non-conference opponents. Of course, Fran Dunphy has certainly been known to run a tough slate out of the gates for his team too.
               
But right now, the Owls are having a tough time getting out of their own way. They are led by Obi Enechionyia, the junior forward, who is averaging 22 points a game. But Temple is shooting just 39 percent from the field in their first three games, and a woeful 59 percent from the free throw line. Both of those numbers have to improve. Plus the usually stingy defense Dunphy preaches was not up to snuff in the loss to UMass, allowing the Minutemen to shoot almost 50 percent from the field.

A chance to get back on track this weekend and salvage a win before next week starts. Manhatten has a game on Friday night, hosting Hofstra, so fatigue from that could work in the Owls favor.

Temple 71, Manhattan 68

Prediction Records:

Amy Fadool: 1-1

Sean Kane: 1-2

Sliding Temple visits Army; Penn hosts Yale in need of Ivy win

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USA Today Images/Penn Athletics

Sliding Temple visits Army; Penn hosts Yale in need of Ivy win

Temple (3-4, 1-3 AAC) at Army (5-2)
Michie Stadium, West Point, New York
Saturday, noon, CBS Sports Network

Last time out
Temple lost to UConn, 28-24, last Saturday.

Army beat Eastern Michigan, 28-27, last Saturday.

Scouting report
Last week against UConn, the Owls committed 12 penalties for 117 yards. Despite putting up 229 more yards and 13 more first downs than the Huskies, Temple couldn’t finish drives late in the game to pull out the win.

Temple’s schedule doesn’t get easier this week. The Owls play an Army team riding a three-game win streak and boasting the second-best rushing offense in college football (378.4 ypg). That will be the matchup to watch as Temple averages 167.1 rushing yards allowed per game, good for seventh in the American Athletic Conference.

Temple’s starting quarterback Logan Marchi missed some practice time this week, but head coach Geoff Collins said he expects him to play on Saturday. If he can’t go, look for backup Frank Nutile to replace him.

What it means
Temple’s performance against UConn was embarrassing, while the Owls' bowl hopes would take a severe hit with a loss to Army. Tulsa and Cincinnati are the only other opponents on the schedule against which Temple should be favored. Navy and UCF, on paper, look to be tough matchups for the Owls.

Series history
Temple owns the 7-5 series advantage and is 6-1 against Army since 2008. That one loss came last year when the Black Knights beat the Owls, 28-13, at Lincoln Financial Field in Temple’s season opener. 

What's next?
Temple has its bye before hosting Navy on Nov. 2.

Army travels to Air Force. 

Penn (2-3, 0-2 Ivy) vs. Yale (4-1, 1-1 Ivy)
Franklin Field
Saturday, 1 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia+


Last time out
Penn lost at Columbia in overtime, 34-31, last Saturday.

Yale defeated Holy Cross, 32-0, last Saturday.

Scouting report
Penn has the worst scoring defense in the Ivy League, which doesn’t bode well for its chances in this one considering Yale has the best scoring offense in the league. The Quakers allow 32.6 ppg and the Bulldogs score 41 ppg. Penn’s total defense is also last in the league, allowing 449.2 ypg.

The Bulldogs take control on the ground with the best rushing offense in the Ivy. Zane Dudek and Deshawn Salter lead the Bulldogs, as both have rushed for more than 400 yards and each has seven touchdowns. Penn will have to win the battle in the trenches to slow down the Bulldogs.

Series history
This is the 84th meeting between the teams. The Bulldogs hold a 46-37-1 advantage but Penn has won 19 of the last 25.

What’s next?
Penn travels to Brown.

Yale hosts Columbia.

Temple-UConn observations: Despite valiant effort from Marchi, Owls lose 1st homecoming game since 2008

Temple-UConn observations: Despite valiant effort from Marchi, Owls lose 1st homecoming game since 2008

BOX SCORE

That’s why football is a week-to-week game. Forget about momentum.

Temple found that out the hard way. After coming alive in a big road win over East Carolina last week, the Owls were humbled when a fourth-quarter rally fell short Saturday in a 28-24 homecoming loss to Connecticut at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Owls had one final shot at the victory with a drive in the final minute, but a Logan Marchi heave to the end zone was broken up.

The loss dropped Temple back under .500 at 3-4 (1-3 American Athletic Conference). UConn moved to 2-5 (2-2) with the victory.

• Say what you want about Temple quarterback Marchi (and you surely will after this game), but the guy is a fighter. Whether things are going his way or not, he continues to try to search for his receivers and attempt to squeeze the ball into those windows on the field. He made it two consecutive games with 300-plus yards passing as he was 33 of 54 for 356 yards with one touchdown and one interception Saturday.

• The game marked Temple’s first homecoming loss in nearly a decade. TU hadn’t suffered a homecoming defeat since a 7-3 loss to Western Michigan on Sept. 27, 2008. On that day, former Eagles DB Jaiquawn Jarrett was beaten in coverage on a double move in the third quarter for the game’s lone touchdown. Coming into Saturday, the Owls had won eight straight homecoming matchups by an average margin of 19.3 points.

• There was a rare sighting for Temple at the Linc: a rushing touchdown from a tailback. In fact, there were two. David Hood, who became the first Owls tailback to score on a run this season in last week’s rout of East Carolina, punched it in from one yard out to open the scoring in the first quarter. Ryquell Armstead weaved his way into the end zone for a 10-yard TD on the first play of the fourth quarter.

• Delvon Randall is simply a playmaker. The Owls’ leading tackler, Randall added another five stops in Saturday’s win. The junior DB also made a beautiful play along the sideline in the first quarter when he undercut an out route for an interception. It marked Randall’s third straight game with a pick. The Owls only have four interceptions this season and Randall has three of them.

• My colleague Greg Paone touched on college football’s targeting rule a couple of weeks ago (see story)We agree on pretty much all of the nuts and bolts of the rule. I’m glad it’s in place to protect players from violent and unnecessary hits. However, the more I see it called each week — and it seems like there is at least one in every game now — the more I’m starting to dislike the implementation. Temple defensive lineman Sharif Finch was ejected for targeting on Saturday when he went high on Huskies quarterback Bryant Shirreffs on a third-quarter touchdown pass. Shirreffs sold the hit by jerking his head back as he fell to the ground, but it was definitely worthy of a penalty. Was it a late hit? Yes. A bone-headed hit? Absolutely. But one worthy of Temple losing a top defensive player for the remainder of the game? I don’t think so.

• Speaking of Shirreffs, it’s easy to see why the Huskies have the best passing offense in the AAC. He didn’t show it with yardage in this tilt (just 105), but he was able to connect on three touchdowns through the air. He also added 39 yards on the ground, including a key run up the middle late in the fourth quarter.

• The Owls simply aren’t a good enough team to overcome 12 penalties for 117 yards.

• Like any other major college football game around the country, Saturday’s matchup at the Linc had scouts from NFL teams listed to attend. Of course, the Eagles were listed for several scouts in their home stadium. While the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers were also among those expected to have representatives at the game, there was only one other team labeled for more than one scout besides the Eagles — the New York Giants. At 0-5, they can certainly use all the help they can get right now.

• Temple will look to rebound when the Owls travel to play their final non-conference opponent in Army at 12 p.m. next Saturday.