Dave Zeitlin

Temple flops in biggest game of season

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USA Today Images

Temple flops in biggest game of season

BOX SCORE 

In its biggest game of the season, Temple had its biggest flop.

With their NCAA Tournament at-large hopes dangling over a precipice, the Owls were smoked by visiting Houston, 80-59, on Sunday at the Liacouras Center.

Quinton Rose and Nate Pierre-Louis scored 13 points apiece for Temple (15-12, 7-8 American), which had won seven of its last nine coming in with the only losses in that stretch to nationally ranked teams (Wichita State, Cincinnati) on the road.

Corey Davis Jr. had a game-high 20 points for Houston (21-5, 11-3), which has now won five straight, including a massive win over No. 5 Cincinnati on Thursday, and is challenging the Bearcats and Shockers for the league title.

• It sounds cliché but Houston just seemed to want it more, outhustling Temple to loose balls and dominating on the glass by a ridiculous 53-22 margin. Not surprisingly, there were smatterings of boos from Temple fans when the final horn sounded.

• Considering the urgency of the game, Temple was very flat from the start with Houston’s Davis hitting two tough three-pointers to spark an 8-0 start for the visitors.

• The Cougars built their lead to 15-0 as Temple fans, standing until the Owls scored their first basket, grew impatient and implored head coach Fran Dunphy to change the lineup.

• Finally, Temple got on the scoreboard when Obi Enechionyia threw down a big dunk with 13:36 left in the first half. But fittingly, Davis hit a jumper just moments later and the red-hot Cougars kept their foot on the gas to increase their lead to 34-11 with 7:30 left.

• Houston led by a staggering 24 points at the final media timeout of the first half and took a 21-point lead into halftime after an Enechionyia three-pointer in the final seconds.

• Temple shot 31 percent in the first half, and it seemed even uglier with several of the Owls’ shots missing the rim entirely.

• The biggest first-half difference was rebounding as Houston held a 31-9 advantage and an 11-1 edge on the offensive boards. On one especially excruciating possession for Temple, Houston got a couple of offensive rebounds before Davis drilled a three right in front of the Temple bench.

• With Temple showing a little more life to start the second half, the Cougars promptly sucked it back out of them with star senior Rob Gray hitting a big three to put them up 47-24 with 16 minutes left.

• With 13 minutes left, the Cougars had doubled up Temple’s score (54-27), and then went ahead 59-27 on Davis’ sixth three-pointer of the game. Temple fans had very little cheer for from there. Houston’s a good team but it’s not easy to explain how the surging Owls could lose a game this badly to anyone at home.

• Houston actually had far more turnovers than Temple, 17-10.

• Temple lost at Houston, 76-73, back in December, and is now 2-7 all-time vs. the Cougars, including a 1-4 mark in Philadelphia.

• Houston is chasing just its second NCAA Tournament berth since 1992 and its first since 2010. The Owls, meanwhile, are in danger of missing two straight Big Dances for just the second time since Fran Dunphy took over in 2006. Thanks in large part to a great strength of schedule and their recent hot streak, the Owls were on Joe Lunardi’s “Next Four Out” in ESPN’s bracketology but this loss — and a sub-.500 conference mark — will certainly drop them even further off the bubble.

• The best celebration of the day came in honor of Hooter the Owl’s birthday, with mascots from around the city coming to the Liacouras Center to pay their respects. But those vibes didn’t extend to the game as Temple dropped to 12-1 all-time on its mascot’s birthday.

• Temple plays its final home game next Sunday vs. UCF before closing the regular season with road games at UConn and Tulsa. But even if they win out, the Owls still likely need to win the American Athletic Conference tournament to get into the NCAAs.

Union coach on Eagles title: 'I think every Philadelphian stands a little taller now'

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Union coach on Eagles title: 'I think every Philadelphian stands a little taller now'

Jim Curtin is the head coach of the Philadelphia Union.

He’s also a longtime Philly guy and a huge Eagles fan who said in his introductory press conference that his “wedding revolved around 4th-and-26 with Freddie Mitchell.”

So, yeah, he may have gone a little crazy watching the Super Bowl — even if he had to do it more than 1,000 miles away since the Union are currently in preseason camp down in Clearwater.

“What a game, what an incredible team story and performance,” Curtin said during his weekly conference call Wednesday. “Sticking together when a lot of people counted them out is a story you see a lot in sports and it was fun to watch.

“Congrats to the Eagles, Coach Pederson, all the things they did this year were truly special,” he added. “I think every Philadelphian stands a little taller now. It’s an exciting time in Philadelphia sports.”

Curtin said he watched the game in Florida with two members of the Union front office: fellow Philly native Chris Albright and Earnie Stewart (who actually comes from a family of Cowboys fans). Afterwards, he gave a big hug to backup goalie John McCarthy, a Northeast Philly native who said in an interview he “teared up a little” after the game.


McCarthy then lobbied Mayor Kenney to have the championship parade on Friday — the day the Union return to Philly from the first phase of their preseason. (Rudely, it doesn’t seem like the mayor factored in the goalie's request as the city settled on Thursday.)


“We were really excited,” Curtin said. “Obviously everyone from Philadelphia knows the highs and lows of being a Philly fan. I thought it was a great moment for us as a city.”

Curtin said he wishes he could be at the parade but is naturally focused on the Union’s preseason game vs. Chicago on Thursday. There will, however, be plenty of representation from his family along Broad Street.

“I have a large number of family members and close friends sleeping over at my house tonight,” said Curtin, who lives in the Queen Village section of the city. “My house isn’t very big but it happens to be a couple of blocks from the parade route. There will be a big sleepover — lots of kids, lots of cousins, lots of family rolling through the house.

“Obviously we have work to do down here in Clearwater. It’s unfortunate I’m gonna miss the parade but I know it’s gonna be a heck of a party.”

Philly fans party like never before after Super Bowl victory

Philly fans party like never before after Super Bowl victory

The rain and hail that pelted Philadelphia for much of the day dissipated just as people across the city spilled out of sports bars, apartments and houses.

They all had one destination: Broad Street.

It was time for a celebration 58 years in the making.

On Sunday night, just as Nick Foles led the Eagles to a surprise Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots in Minneapolis, the scene more than 1,000 miles away in Philly was jubilation and pandemonium.

Fireworks were set off. Car horns blared. And Philadelphians young and old descended on Broad Street, the iconic thoroughfare that will soon host a parade to commemorate the city's first major pro sports championship since the Phillies won the 2008 World Series.

"The city deserved it," said 66-year-old Lou Potel, who threw a party at his home just off Broad before joining a much bigger party outside. "It's a great city, and now we have a Super Bowl to go along with it."

Like so many other fans, Potel's love for the Eagles has been passed down from generation to generation. He went to the Super Bowl with his son the last time the Eagles played in the title game in 2004, and said that watching Sunday's championship with his son "made up for it."

Dustin Seidman, 42, and his wife Staci, 41, decided to bring their 10-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter to the festivities on Broad Street, even as drunken fans sprayed beer and climbed trash trucks, street poles and awnings. Social media video showed the awning outside the Ritz-Carlton Hotel collapsing with more than a dozen people on it, but it was unclear if there were any injuries.

There were many other young kids on Broad Street, with parents weaving strollers between people and cars and some even holding infants in carriers. One youngster rode a scooter while wearing an Eagles helmet.

"We wouldn't miss this," Dustin Seidman said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

As his son then asked to keep walking north to City Hall, he added: "Does life get any better than this?"

For Staci Seidman, the thought of her late grandfather, a die-hard Eagles fan, immediately crossed her mind when the game ended. She wasn't alone.

Rick Campitelli, 63, who came into the city to watch the game with his son, said he wished his father-in-law could have been alive to see this moment.

"This is the greatest," said Campitelli, wearing the jersey of Wilbert Montgomery, the former Eagles running back to whom he once sold insurance. "I was hoping they would do it before I died, and they did it."

The scene in Boston was far more somber as fans inside the Banshee Bar had to come to terms with a rare loss for Tom Brady. Some, however, took it in stride.

"I've got nothing to complain about," Boston resident Bill Crowley said. "It's the greatest dynasty in NFL history and this loss tonight doesn't change that.

"They'll be back," Conor Hobert added. "One hundred percent, they'll be back."

Sam Murphy, 40, actually made the trip from Boston to Philadelphia, flying in Sunday morning before planning to fly back for work Monday. The longtime Eagles fan and Boston resident joked he couldn't be within 100 miles of his home, instead deciding to watch the game with his old University of Pennsylvania roommate Rob Ballenger, 41, at Grace Tavern, near 23rd and South Streets.

While standing in the back of the packed bar, Murphy drank Newbolds in honor of his father-in-law Ron Skubecz, who loved that beer and who once gave his children a football signed by Eagles legend Chuck Bednarik. Skubecz, a lifelong Eagles fan, died just three weeks ago, making Sunday's championship even more emotional for Murphy.

"This is Philly at its best," said Murphy, as he, Ballenger and hundreds of other new friends paraded down South Street to get to the party on Broad. "This team is what Philly is all about."