The Owls would begin to claw their way back however, utilizing a 12-0 run to tie the game at 25 on a layup by Dalton Pepper, as they held the Wildcats scoreless for more than six minutes.
Temple would fight their way back to go to the locker room trailing just 36-31 in the hard-nosed battle between the two Big 5 schools.
"We approach them the same way as we approach the Big East games. We prepare hard and we just focus on what we do," James Bell said on Big 5 contests.
JayVaughn Pinkston, Daniel Ochefu, Ryan Arcidiacono and James Bell would each contribute 6 points in the half for the Wildcats, as Villanova shot 48.4 percent in the half.
Temple would struggle shooting throughout the half, making just 27.8 percent of their shots. The Owls would fight through their struggles however, making 10 of 12 shots from the free throw line to battle back toward the end of the half.
Will Cummings would lead all scorers with 13 first half points, while Anthony Lee scored 10 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, putting the junior forward just one board from a double-double after one half of play.
Villanova would emerge from the locker room ready to pounce, utilizing a 7-0 run to start the second half to take a 43-31 lead. The Wildcats would continue to build upon that lead, going up 73-53 with 7:22 left.
"They defended well, we struggled a little bit to score in that first part of the second half. We had a couple of threes by Pepper, but we weren't very good offensively in the second half," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said.
The Wildcats would stretch their lead to as much as 24, as they cruised to a 90-74 win over the Owls to take the Big 5 title.
"We can score. Defense, rebounding, I don't know yet," said Villanova coach Jay Wright. "We definitely have to get better, but we can definitely score."
James Bell would lead the Wildcats in the victory with 19 points, including five made shots from beyond the arc. JayVaughn Pinkston would score 13 points and grab 7 rebounds, and Daniel Ochefu would add 11 and 7 for the Wildcats, as he went 5 of 6 shooting.
"It was a really good win for us in a tough environment," Wright said. "It was a good all-around team effort. We had a lot of players play and I thought staying fresh helped us in that game."
With the win, the Wildcats improved to 19-2 on the season. Having no player in the game for 30 minutes should benefit Villanova, as they have a quick turnaround, returning to action on Monday when they welcome Xavier to the Pavilion.
Will Cummings led all scorers, as he scored 24 points for the Owls in the loss. Quenton DeCosey would add 18 and Anthony Lee would record a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, but it would not be enough for Temple, who struggled, shooting just 36.2 percent in the game.
The Owls continued their season-long struggles, as they fell to 6-14 overall. Temple will be back in action on Thursday, as they play host to SMU.
By: Kyle Babcock
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