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Temple outlasts Saint Joseph's in tense Big Five affair

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Three senior players were in the lane for Saint Joseph's as Anthony Lee shot the 2nd of two free throws for Temple in a closely contested game in the final minute.

No Temple players were in the lane, only the free throw shooter Lee was past half court.

Clank. Lee misses his second free throw and the Hawks have life.

Except the veteran Hawks forgot a basic tenet of the game in the final moment of their first Big 5 game of their respective senior seasons.

Who has the shooter?

Nobody had the shooter for St. Joe's as Lee easily corralled the rebound from his missed free throw against three veteran Hawks who should have known better.

Lee cashed in on his second opportunity as he made both free throws, helping put a close game out of the Hawks reach as Temple won 77-69 over Saint Joseph's at the Liacouras Center on Wednesday evening.

Lee finished with a double-double as he scored 15 points while bringing down 11 rebounds in the winning effort with no rebound as big as the one he got with 27 seconds left after his missed free throw.

Through the first 39 minutes of the contest neither team led by more than five points as the normally-heated Big 5 rivalry between Temple and Saint Joseph's was as hotly contested as ever.

Every time Temple appeared to be taking control, Langston Galloway would come back down the floor and make a three-pointer or two to bring St. Joe's right back in it.

Galloway had a game-high 24 points on the evening and made 6-of-12 three-pointers in the game.

Saint Joseph's took a 51-48 lead after a short jumper from Halil Kanacevic with 13:22 to play.

22 seconds later, Kanacevic committed his fourth foul on a hand-checking call just past mid-court. The senior forward had to go to the bench and in reality, St. Joe's never recovered from this point.

Temple went on an 8-0 run over the next two minutes and 30 seconds and a lay-up by Dalton Pepper gave the Owls a five-point advantage with 10:35 left. It would be Pepper's last action of the night as he left the game with a leg injury.

While a Galloway three-pointer would tie the game at 65 with 4:29 to play, St. Joe's would never hold the lead again in the game.

Lee scored 7 of the next 8 points for the Owls, including the three free throws which served as a clincher for Temple.

Coming into the season, the three senior starters for the Hawks spoke of their desire and hunger to make the NCAA Tournament this season.

The difference between making the NCAA Tournament and settling for an NIT bid could be just one or two key plays in one or two turning point games.

The difference between going to the "Big Dance" and going to the NIT could very well be a play like tonight's, where three senior leaders combined to make a mental error which cost the Hawks a shot at victory.

One positive note for Saint Joseph's is the fact that the Hawks will welcome another Big 5 rival on Saturday night when they face off against Villanova at Hagan Arena in "The Holy War."

A win over the Wildcats can quickly extinguish the bad taste left in the mouth of the Hawks after letting a winnable game slip through their fingers.

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