PHILADELPHIA -After trailing by as many as 12 late in the second half, the University of Pennsylvania men's basketball team battled back to cut the lead to just two in the final minute, but couldn't complete the comeback in a 77-73 loss to Temple on Wednesday night at The Palestra.
With the loss, Penn fell to 4-5 overall and 1-1 in Big 5 play. Temple improved to 4-4 with the win.
Sophomore Antonio Woods and freshman Jackson Donahue led the second-half charge for Penn. Woods finished the night with a career-high 22 points on 9-for-15 shooting, including 3-for-6 from three. He also finished the game with seven assists (against only one turnover), two rebounds and two steals. Donahue, meanwhile, had all 12 of his points in the second half, and all of them came on three-point baskets.
The Big 5 rivals battled throughout the first half, changing leads four times and tying twice. Penn led by five in the first few minutes, but couldn't keep up their hot shooting and went into the break trailing by eight at 38-30. The Quakers shot 11-for-27 in the first half and just 3-for-16 from three. However, they had eight different scorers, spreading the floor well.
Penn opened the second half by cutting the lead to four on a Woods step-back jumper, but Temple answered with a 7-0 run to jump out to an 11-point lead with 13 minutes to play.
The Quakers battled back again to cut the deficit to single digits, on the back of Donahue. The freshman made a trio of treys in the span of 1:26 to pull Penn within 61-56 with less than 10 minutes remaining.
Temple answered the call again, however, and built its lead back to 12 with three minutes to go.
With just over two minutes left, Sam Jones (9 points on three treys) brought Penn back within single digits with a long three, making it 68-59. After Temple scored on its next possession, Woods knocked down a three to cut the lead to eight, followed by Donahue hitting his fourth trey of the night to bring the Quakers within five with under a minute left.
After the Owls missed a pair of free throws, Woods drove the lane twice to bring the lead to just two on a pair of occasions, but Temple's Josh Brown was able to stave off the Penn rally by hitting four free throws in the final seconds to seal the win.
Penn finished the night 29-for-55 from the field, and tied a season high with 10 three-point baskets. In addition to Woods and Donahue, the Quakers were led by senior Darien Nelson-Henry who finished with his fourth double-double this season (11 points, 10 rebounds) and also had three assists.
For Temple, Quenton DeCosey finished with 22 points and six rebounds, while Jaylen Bond had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Brown finished the game with 10 points, six boards, and a game-high nine assists (with just one turnover).
The Quakers will now wait 10 days before taking the court again. They will host Ursinus on the December 19 at 2:30 p.m., the second half of a doubleheader at The Palestra as the women tip off with Drexel at noon.