The 9th ranked Villanova Wildcats beat the Temple Owls on Saturday afternoon ( February 1) at the Liacouras Center 90 -74, winning the Big Five title with a perfect 4 -0 record in the City Series. For the victorious Wildcats, it was also their 3rd straight win – all on the road.
Villanova broke open a close game with a big second half surge. The Wildcats stretched a 35-31 halftime lead to a 24 point margin by outscoring the Owls 28-9 to begin the second half. With 10:17 left to play, Villanova had a 64-40 lead. The Wildcats got balanced scoring with five players in double figures. James Bell finished with 19 points, JayVaughn Pinkston chipped in 13, Darrun Hilliard added 12, Daniel Ochefu had 11, and Dylan Ennis scored 10 off the bench. The hot shooting Wildcats hit 31 of 59 field goal attempts (52.5 %), including 12 of 29 three pointers (41.4 %). Villanova had 20 assists against 9 turnovers.
Villanova also got a balanced effort on the boards. Three Wildcats, Ochefu, Pinkston, & Hilliard, grabbed 7 boards apiece. Ryan Arcidiacono paced the Wildcats, dishing 5 assists. On the other side of the ledger, Will Cummings, the Owls crafty point guard, was the game’s high scorer with 24 points. Quenton Decosey finished with 18, Dalton Pepper, who was held in check for the most part, had 11 , and Anthony Lee ended up with a double-double, 12 points and 10 rebounds, most coming in the first half.
With the win, Villanova improved to 19-2 overall, 4-0 Big Five. Temple, which is in the midst of an uncharacteristic losing season, slumped to 6-14 overall, 2-2 Big Five. Villanova won its four Big Five games by a combined 90 points, winning each game by at least 16 points.
Villanova returns to action on Monday night February 3rd when it hosts Xavier at the Pavilion at 7pm a Big East conference match-up. It will be the Wildcats first home game since January 20th. The game will be broadcast on the Fox Sports 1 network.
[Photo credit: Steve Garfinkel Photography]
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