Outside of Philadelphia, the upset bug was in the air of college basketball today. #25 Texas upset Andrew Wiggins and the #6 Kansas Jayhawks in convincing fashion. Unranked Baylor took down #8 Oklahoma State, 76-70. Our Big East brother and rival Georgetown defeated #7 Michigan State at Madison Square Garden as Villanova-Temple was deep into the second half. Entering the game, Temple had a chance to not only upset Villanova but also take a share of the Big 5 title.
However, as two teams battled in the heart of Philadelphia for the Big 5 crown, Villanova would not fall like the #6, #7, and #8 teams before them. Villanova would defeat Temple 90-74 en route to their 22nd Big 5 title.
James Bell sunk the first basket to start off the game with a three pointer. The Wildcats would race out to a comfortable lead, even stretching it into the double digits. A Daniel Ochefu dunk would make the score 25-13. It all seemed smooth sailing from there, until the Wildcats would go on a six minute dry spell where they could not score a single point. Temple would capitalize and fight their way back. The trio of Anthony Lee, Quenton DeCosey, and Will Cummings put together a run to make the score 25-23. Dalton Pepper would make a layup to tie the game up for Temple, fully erasing Villanova’s lead. Josh Hart would make a mid-range jumpshot to break the tie with 2:09 remaining, as well as end the scoreless drought. As the first half was winding down, Cummings sunk a three pointer for Temple. Ryan Arcidiacono answered right back with the final basket of the first half and a three pointer of his own. Cummings’ three would later be reviewed during halftime and be ruled as a two point basket since his foot was actually on the line. Villanova took a 36-31 lead into the half.
To start off the second half, Villanova raced out to a quick 7-0 run that was highlighted by back-to-back threes by Darrun Hilliard and James Bell. Later in the half a 16-3 run by Villanova brought the lead into the twenties. A Dylan Ennis three would make the score 64-40 with 10:20 and the 24 point lead would be the biggest of the game. From there, the Wildcats were on cruise control. A pair of Josh Hart free throws added the last points of the game, resulting in the Wildcat sweep of the Big 5.
For Villanova, five different players scored at least ten points. Bell was the high scorer for the Wildcats. He had 19 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists in the victory. JayVaughn Pinkston had 13 points and 7 rebounds. Hilliard chipped in 12 points and 7 rebounds. Daniel Ochefu added 11 points and 7 rebounds. Dylan Ennis contributed 10 points off of the bench. The Wildcats were more efficient in shooting the ball, 52.5% to 36.2%.
Temple’s Will Cummings led all scoring with 24 points. Quenton DeCosey was second with 18 points. Dalton Pepper who has been a top 3 scorer in the American was held to only 5 points in the first half. Pepper would finish with 11 points total.
The Wildcats improve to 19-2 and return home this Monday night to play the Xavier Musketeers. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.