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ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - In a rematch of #24/25Temple's regular season finale, the #2-seeded Owls (24-6) will take on the #10-seeded La Salle Explorers (15-17) in the quarterfinal round of the 2011 Atlantic 10 Championship Friday evening (6:30 p.m./The Comcast Network/1210 AM WPHT) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
It marks just the second time Temple has faced its last regular season opponent in its first A-10 Tournament game with the other time coming in 2008. That year the Owls won at La Salle, 90-85, on March 8 only to have to turn around and defeat the Explorers, 84-75, in the quarterfinals on March 13. That was the first game of Temple's current nine-game win streak at Boardwalk Hall which has culminated in three straight A-10 Championships.
Temple enters the A-10 Championship winners of 11 of its last 12 games, including three straight. Senior forward Lavoy Allen (11.8 pp., ,8.2 rpg.), named first team all-conference for the second straight season and to the league's all-defensive team for the third time, has averaged 17.6 points and 14 rebounds over the last five games which the team has missed injured starters Michael Eric and Scootie Randall.
Junior guard Ramone Moore, a second team all-A10 and NABC all-District selection, continues to lead TU in scoring (14.8 ppg.) and is tied for the team lead in steals (37). Junior guard Juan Fernandez, a third team all-conference pick, also scores in double figures (10.5 ppg.) while topping the squad in assists (3.9 apg.).
Sophomore guard Khalif Wyatt (9.5 ppg.), the A10 Sixth Man of the Year, gives head coach Fran -Dunphy's squad a lift off the bench.
La Salle, under the direction of head coach Dr. John Giannini, won a first round game at St. Bonaventure, 75-73, in double overtime Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinals. Sophomore forward Aaric Murray (14.9 ppg., 7.5 rpg.) leads the Explorers while senior forward Jerrell Williams (13.8 ppg., 7.5 rpg..) and senior guard Ruben Guillandeaux (12.5 ppg..) also average in double figures.
Temple leads the all-time series, 69-40, and has won the last four meetings. The teams have split their two games in A-10 Championship play with Temple winning in 2008 and La Salle taking a 72-66 decision in 2002. That game was the last time the Owls lost in the quarterfinal round as TU is 25-2 all-time in A-10 Quarterfinal games.