That was not what Temple basketball fans would consider Big 5 basketball.
The ninth-ranked Villanova Wildcats rocked the Temple Owls 90-74 on Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats dominated the game; from scoring to defense, Temple just couldn’t hang with the Cats.
Temple lost the chance to have beaten a top 10 team for a seventh consecutive year and lost the opprotunity for a share of the Big 5 Title.
There is little doubt that every Temple fan left that game extremely frustrated. The Cats jumped up on the Owls early, holding a 12 point lead with 7:09 left to play in the first half. Temple came roaring back on a 12-0 run to tie the game.
It looked like Temple was going into the half just down one possession, but Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono hit a three point jumper from the top of the key to give Nova a 5 point lead going into the half.
It was all downhill from there for the Owls.
The Wildcats scored 54 second half points including a 22-5 run to start off the half. The Owls looked flat, were outhustled, and they did not seem to show up for the second half.
Give credit to Villanova though; they played absolutely lights out. In the second half, the #9 ranked team in the nation shot over 57 percent from the floor. They kept finding ways to get open around Temple’s zone and there was not much the unranked Owls could do to stop them.
Now that credit has been given where credit was due, it is time to dissect the way Temple played. It is really hard to compete with a top 10 team in the nation when you shoot 28 percent in the first half. Dalton Pepper shot 4-14 in the game and when he cannot get anything going it seems like the team can’t either.
They were also 1-8 from behind the arc in the first half. As bad as that was, they did shoot better in the second half, but not good enough.
The real issue of the game was Temple’s obvious lack of heart and hustle. Both teams totaled same amount of rebounds, but it seemed like Villanova was getting to every loose ball much faster than Temple was. Most of the issues Temple has had all season were depth issues, but that was not the case Saturday night.
The team was simply outplayed by a team that was much better than them. It is hard to consider this an embarrassing loss because Temple was close in most categories. Villanova was just a better team and they came more ready to play.
Villanova’s bench outscored Temple’s 29-9.
There are a few takeaways from the game. Mark Williams played only 15 minutes and scored 7 points and grabbed 6 offensive rebounds (8 total). Will Cummings scored 24 points and only played 28 minutes due to a small injury the middle of the second half. He played like a leader, drove to the net as much as he possibly could, and brought Temple back from the early 12 point deficit. Anthony Lee had a double double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Owls will next head down to Texas to play SMU on Thursday.