Temple jumps out to a big lead and tops No. 16 Villanova for first time since 2012
Damian Dunn led all scorers with 22 points, Jamille Reynolds added 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Khalif Battle scored 21 points off the bench for Temple. Scroll to see how other City 6 schools fared.
Temple guard Khalif Battle had a simple explanation for what the plan was, though the situation offered a lot of options.
Shot clock unplugged. Tie game. Liacouras Center roaring, a rarity in a Big 5 clash with No. 16 Villanova.
“The play was to give Damian Dunn the ball and get out of the way,” Battle said.
Temple coach Aaron McKie had a more nuanced version of why he opted to leave his remaining timeout in his pocket and let the play go.
“I just get a little scared sometimes when you got to take the ball out,” McKie said. “You add an extra layer of pressure for them.
“I feel really comfortable having the ball in Dame’s hands at the top of the circle.”
Dunn rewarded his coach’s confidence, driving on Villanova’s Brandon Slater and earning a whistle. His two free throws with 1.1 seconds left put Temple ahead for good, and the Owls stunned Villanova, 68-64, earning their first win over the Wildcats since 2012 and igniting a rare court storm on Temple’s campus.
Dunn led all scorers with 22 points. Jamille Reynolds added 14 points and 12 rebounds (five offensive) for Temple and was at times Temple’s best player on the floor.
“He was big; he was physical,” Villanova coach Kyle Neptune said of Reynolds. “He’s athletic. He’s mean. He’s nasty. He got a lot of offensive rebounds.”
Battle scored 21 points off the bench for Temple and, along with Dunn, kept Temple tight with Villanova in the final stretch.
Villanova, still playing without Justin Moore and top freshman Cam Whitmore, was paced by Caleb Daniels’ 19 points. Eric Dixon scored 18 points and grabbed five rebounds, and Jordan Longino scored 11, including a key three-pointer that gave Villanova a 64-62 lead with 58 seconds to go.
Temple punches first
If effort was a problem for Temple in Monday night’s season-opening loss, the Owls certainly got the message in time for Friday night.
Temple outworked Villanova on almost every early possession. Reynolds was a force inside, using his height advantage on Dixon to grab offensive rebounds and create second-chance scoring opportunities for Temple. The Owls jumped out to a 28-15 lead in large part because of Reynolds, who had eight points and seven rebounds in nine first-half minutes.
Dixon, who scored 20 points in Monday’s season-opening win over La Salle, picked up an early foul 45 seconds in and then another just 3:23 into the half. Villanova struggled on offense without him.
But the Wildcats used a critical 11-3 run to close the half and cut a 13-point deficit to five, 34-29, at halftime.
’Nova punches back
In a game that needed a turning point or a momentum shift, Slater delivered it.
A Dunn jumper put Temple up, 45-37, with 13:43 left in the game, and Temple appeared to have seized control after Villanova’s run to close the half.
But down the other end, Slater drove to the rim and hammered home a dunk over Temple’s Kur Jongkuch, who was in the game for Reynolds after the Temple big man picked up his third foul less than two minutes into the second half.
That jumpstarted a 10-0 Villanova run that gave the Wildcats their first lead, 47-45, with 10:41 to play.
It also woke up the crowd, and the teams traded baskets until the final horn, with Dunn and Battle making the bigger plays down the stretch.
There were more than 12 lead changes in the final 10 minutes.
Villanova had a chance to take the lead with under 30 seconds to go. Daniels drove on Dunn, and the Temple guard fell to the floor, giving Daniels a clean look near the rim, but the shot fell short. Jongkuch grabbed the rebound, the final possession was on, and a party was about to start on North Broad.
“You watch it as a kid, but you’ve never experienced it happening,” Battle said about the court storming.
“Our fans were outstanding,” McKie said. “Our guys rode off the energy. It’s fun to see.”
Villanova had won seven straight over Temple by an average of 18 points since the Owls’ last win in the series.
Villanova made just two three-pointers, the fewest since hitting three in a 2021 NCAA Tournament loss to Baylor. The Wildcats were just 2 of 7 from beyond the arc.
“They did a good job of taking away something we like to do,” Neptune said.
“They followed the game plan,” McKie said. “Exactly what we asked them to do they did it.”
Villanova hosts Delaware State on Monday at Finneran Pavilion (6:30 p.m., FS2).
Temple plays next on Tuesday, a home game at the Liacouras Center vs. Vanderbilt (7 p.m., ESPN+).
In other City 6 games:
Drexel 71, Old Dominion 59: A late second-half surge from Amari Williams who finished with a team-high 16 points and 11 rebounds fueled a win for Drexel (1-0) in the Dragons’ home and season opener. Coletrane Washington added 15 points, shooting 4 of 7 from beyond the arc. Senior Ben Stanley led Old Dominion (0-1) with 18. Drexel is back in action at home on Tuesday against Penn (7 p.m., NBCSports Philadelphia)
Missouri 92, Penn 85: Clark Slajchert led the Quakers with 21 points and Jordan Dingle added 15 but the Tigers (2-0) would pull away in the second half fueled by a 28-point effort from junior forward Noah Carter. In the loss, Penn falls to 0-2 ahead of a game against Towson on Sunday (4 p.m., ESPN+).