The Villanova Wildcats (10-0, 3-0 Big 5) beat the Temple Owls (6-4, 2-2 Big 5) 85-62 to clinch a share of the city series crown on Sunday afternoon (December 14) at the Pavilion (in a nationally televised game on Fox Sports 1). As is its norm, Villanova won by sharing the ball, defending tenaciously, and winning the battle on the glass. For the first time this season, Villanova had a player score 20+ points, with both Josh Hart and Darrun Hilliard scoring 20 points to lead the Wildcats to a convincing win. Hart, who comes off of the bench, also chipped in 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and a blocked shot (sorry, no partridge in a pear tree).
Villanova took charge of the game in the early going and led most of the way. Temple battled hard, but Villanova’s balance and effort proved to be the difference. In the first half, Hart was scintillating, hitting every shot he took , both from the field and the free-throw line. After Temple grabbed a 4-2 lead, Villanova went on a 13-0 run to take control of the game. Temple had a brief spurt to make it a 17-12 game, but Villanova slowly began to pull away. At the half, the Villanova Wildcats were up 39-26.
In the second half, the Wildcats continued to pad their lead – pushing it to 24 points with 7:16 remaining. Temple made a last gasp run to close the margin to 73-59 with 4:39 to go. Villanova however, regained control and pushed its lead back up to win going away by the final margin 85-62.
JayVaughn Pinkston with 12 points, and Daniel Ochefu with 10, joined Hart and Hilliard in double figures. Dylan Ennis and Ryan Arcidiacono each had 7 points, and freshman Phil Booth added 8 to the Wildcats cause. Ochefu added 5 rebounds to help Villanova win the rebounding battle 34-31. Ennis and Hart each had 3 assists, as Villanova collected 14 assists against 10 turnovers. Overall Villanova shot 27-51 (52.9%) from the field, including 9-15 (60%) from beyond the arc, and 22-27 (81.5%) from the charity stripe.
Quenton DeCosey paced the Owls scoring with 18 points, on 4 of 16 shooting. Will Cummings added 14, on 4 of 14 shooting. Freshman Obi Enechionya chipped in 10 points and 6 rebounds. Jaylen Bonds was the Owls leading rebounder with 7. Cummings had 4 assists.
Villanova returns to action on Saturday, December 20 when it hosts former Big East rival Syracuse at 12:30 at the Wells Fargo Center. Temple next plays on Thursday, December 18th when it travels to Delaware to play the Blue Hens.
[Photo credit: Michael Green Photography]
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