Allen, Owls sick of leaving Dance early

Without Lavoy Allen, Temple would have been very competitive. With Allen, the Owls are nationally ranked. He’s that much of a difference-maker.

The 6-foot-9-inch senior withdrew his name from the NBA Draft in May and retained his final year of eligibility — and Owls fans are happy he did.

After a 29-6 season, ending with a loss to Cornell in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the Owls are expected to compete for a fourth-consecutive Atlantic 10 title.

“It was a really hard decision for me,” Allen said. “Really, up until the last day, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I had a workout for Portland that I was a little disappointed in. Still, I waited to the last possible day before I made up my mind.”

Any regrets?

“No, none,” Allen said. “I’m excited to be back at Temple and get another year under me. I knew this was the right decision in my heart. I’m very happy to be back.”

Last season, Allen averaged 11.5 points and 10.7 rebounds per game while becoming the first Temple player to average a double-double since 1970-71.

But Allen isn’t concerned about statistics. He wants to help lead the Owls past the first round of the tournament. They have lost in the opening round three straight years.

“We won 29 games last year, but we’re not putting a number on this season,” Allen said. “We know if we stick to what we’re doing and execute, good things will follow.”

Tough test in opener

Temple, ranked No. 22 nationally, opens its 2010-11 season against Seton Hall Friday night at the Liacouras Center.

Not exactly an easy way to start.

“I like the fact that we have a tough team coming here,” said coach Fran Dunphy. “It will be a heck of a test for us.”

This is the first time since 2001 that Temple will enter the season in the national rankings. The Owls return three starters from last year.