Another steamy night at the Palestra, another instant classic between Temple and Saint Joesph’s, and perhaps new life for the Temple Owls tournament hopes.
Sunday night at a jam packed, steaming hot Palestra, over 8700 fans filed in to watch yet another game for the ages as the Temple Owls defeated the St. Joe’s Hawks 57-56, moving the Owls into sole possession of 2nd place in the Atlantic 10.
Temple had been trailing the entire game until they finally battled back to get within a point with 25 seconds remaining in the contest. With the building rockin’, Temple senior and co-captain Mark Tyndale held the ball at the top of the key. Saint Joseph’s best defender Garrett Williamson, down in his defensive stance a few feet away. Tyndale went hard to the right, and in a flash the ball was coming through the net, the Owl student section going nuts, Temple had a 57-56 lead with 22 seconds remaining for the first time.
Then as the Hawks Pat Calathes lefty runner was off the mark, the ball landed in the hands of Tasheed Carr, and when his baseline fade away came up short, the Owls survived. A Big 5 title is now Temple’s to lose and more importantly, outside hopes of a NCAA tourney birth are still on life support.
“There’s 8,722 going crazy,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. “It’s hot as hell. The atmosphere is fantastic . . . What else do you want?”
“That [last 22] seconds was the longest  seconds of my life,” said Tyndale, who is on pace to become the first player in A-10 history to finish in the top 10 in points and rebounds and top five in assists.
Temple has two games remaining before they head to Atlantic City for the A-10 tournament a week from Wednesday. If they can put together a nice win streak at the right time of the year, and perhaps make a run all the way to the A-10 tourney final, Philadelphia could avoid not having at least one Big 5 team in the tournament for the first time in the past three decades.