Temple tops Villanova 76-61, stays unbeatenBy DAN GELSTON, AP Sports Writer Wednesday, Dec 5, 2012
Temple won for the first time since 1990 at Villanova’s Pavilion and is 6-0 for the first time since the 1987-88 season. Up next for the Owls, a date Saturday against No. 2 Duke at the Izod Center.
This was the final scheduled matchup between the rivals in this current conference alignment. The Owls leave the Atlantic 10 after this season to join the Wildcats in the Big East.
The Owls simply dominated the second half against the overmatched Wildcats (4-4). Villanova struggled to make shots until garbage time in the second half and had no answer in the interior for Lee’s easy drives and buckets.
James Bell led Villanova with 15 points.
Until Tony Chennault hit a 3 with 9:41 left in the game, the Wildcats had gone 0 for 9 from the floor with six turnovers in the second half. Khalif Wyatt and Randall each hit 3s to spark the Owls on a 18-2 run to open the half and turn a four-point halftime deficit into a 12-point lead.
But the Wildcats kept shooting and the Owls failed to really put them away.
Chennault hit another 3 to make it a seven-point game and ignite the idea of a comeback.
It was short lived. Lee worked his way past Villanova’s big men for two layups and five straight points, pushing Temple’s lead to 62-49. From there, the Owls simply rolled, and beat the Wildcats for the second straight season.
Temple’s “I Believe That We Have Won” chant took over the Pavilion as giddy Owls fans had a rare reason to celebrate this Big 5 win.
The Owls won without much production from Khalif Wyatt, who entered with a 15.6 average. He made his first shot, then missed the next nine, and finished with 13 points on 4 of 16 shooting. Coach Fran Dunphy has another likely NCAA tournament team on his hand and the Owls are looking sharp.
Villanova shot a respectable 52 percent in the first half to lead 36-32 at halftime. But the Wildcats totally lost their shooting touch in the second half, and fans fled for the exits with the home team trailing by 13 points with 3:38 left in the game.
Under coach Jay Wright, the Wildcats had turned into the premier program in the city and one of the best in the Big East, highlighted by a trip to the Final Four in 2009. The program has gone cold the last two seasons, including a 19-loss disaster last season, and losses this year to Ivy League school Columbia and an overtime head scratcher to city rival La Salle.
Lavoy Allen, Temple’s career leading rebounder, former Villanova point guard Maalik Wayns and Evan Turner were all at the game. All three play for the Philadelphia 76ers.
In other Temple news, Athletic Director Bill Bradshaw said about 75 people had expressed interest in the program’s vacant football job. Steve Addazio bolted the Owls on Tuesday after two seasons to take the job at Boston College. Bradshaw said potential candidates include head coaches involved in this season’s bowl games, assistants and NFL assistants. Bradshaw said it was important to hire someone who “embraces everything Temple.”
Follow Dan Gelston at www.twitter.com/APGelston