PHILADELPHIA – The Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) men's basketball team started hot and finished strong in a 70-60 loss to the Temple Owls on Thursday evening from the Liacouras Center in a charity exhibition.
All ticket sales from the event will be donated to One America Appeal to benefit those impacted by the recent hurricanes that hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
"[Temple Head Coach] Fran [Dunphy] and I have been friends for a long, long time," said Jefferson Head Coach Herb Magee. "When he called me and asked me about it I said 'no hesitation at all.' It's great experience for us. I've always been a big believer in Fran Dunphy, not only as a coach but as a man and it was a pleasure to be here at Temple."
"It was a great experience to play against a team like Temple," said Jefferson senior guard Kaison Randolph. "Recently we came back from California, playing against some tough competition out west, and we have games this weekend, so playing a team like Temple prepares us very well for the games ahead."
Temple settled in before tying the game up at 15-15. After forcing a few Jefferson turnovers, the Owls took a 37-24 lead into halftime. Gorton led the squad with seven points at the break on 3-of-5 shooting followed by senior Yevgen Sakhniuk and sophomore Josh Bradanese with six points each. All three ended up in double figures. Sakhniuk closed the half with a buzzer-beating dunk.
The physical play and length of Temple helped the Owls take the lead into halftime, but the Rams were able to outscore Temple, 36-33, over the final 20 minutes to make it competitive late.
"We played against great players in high school so we were prepared for DI players, but their size was difficult to handle," said Randolph.
Gorton made his second three of the night to get the Rams within 12, trimming the Owls' lead to 41-29 a couple minutes into the second half.
After a scoreless first half for Randolph, the senior hit a three to take the game into the under-12 media timeout, trailing 47-34 with 11:55 to play. He finished with six points on the night, drawing consistent pressure from the Owls' defense.
The Rams had a nice sequence with under six minutes to play. Randolph completed a three-point play before Guerra hit a three and Sakhniuk got an offense board followed by the putback to get the Rams within 12 again at 59-47.
The Rams were able to fight back late to pull within 10 at the final buzzer after a 7-2 run over the final 1:15.
Gorton and Bradanese both finished with a team-high 13 points. Gorton shot 5-of-8 from the field including 2-of-2 from deep while Bradanese went 4-of-6 shooting and 3-of-5 from behind the arc. Sakhniuk ended up with 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting. The senior helped keep the point in the paint game relatively even as Temple only had a slight 28-22 edge in that category. Guerra finished with nine points, six rebounds and five assists. Hickson scored five points and grabbed six boards.
As a team, Jefferson shot 8-of-16 from three and 22-of-48 for 45.8% from the field. Temple outrebounded the Rams, 42-33, and also saw the Owls grab 20 offensive boards.
Jefferson Men's Basketball plays at a DII East Region Conference Challenge this Saturday and Sunday at Holy Family University in Philadelphia, Pa. The Rams face Merrimack on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. before closing the weekend against American International on Sunday, Nov. 12 at noon.