Not what you quite expected to see here.
Sophomore Jermaine Samuels, known more for defense and rebounding, came off Villanova’s bench hit a couple threes that were just huge for Villanova to stay in it after Temple had grabbed a 33-26 lead after halftime, and another to give Villanova a 50-47 lead with 5 minutes left. Temple’s scouting report wouldn’t have told the Owls to make sure to get out to Samuels. He was 4 for 20 on threes coming in, and 0 for 8 in Villanova’s previous games. When Samuels hit a couple of free throws to put Villanova up 53-47, some students chanted “MVP.” They were right.
Homecourt advantage at new Pavilion?
You have to give people something to cheer about. Not blaming the customers for not getting too loud.
The noteworthy performer of the early minutes.
... and maybe the first half as a whole: Villanova freshman Saddiq Bey had 3 assists on his team’s first 5 baskets, all in different ways, hitting Collin Gillespie for a three, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree on a screen and roll, Cosby-Roundtree again after Bey backed in Quinton Rose and fed Cosby-Roundtree after Temple’s Ernest Afalkpui came over to help.
Would Temple have more steals or three-pointers?
In the first 10 minutes, that number was 3 steals to zero threes. Score: 12-12. Of Temple’s first 16 points, 14 were in the paint. Shizz Alston hit a stepback three for Temple’s only three of the first half on the Owls’ final shot of the half.
These defenses were, in fact, legit.
Still, when the halftime score is 24-23, the offenses do their part to contribute to it. Villanova had a bunch of in-and-outs as pat of their 38 percent shooting. The good news for a game that started at 8:44 p.m., it was a quick half, with only 10 fouls, three of them purposefully made by Temple in the last 20 seconds. There was one whistle in the first 7 ½ minutes, a travel called on Alston, which was actually a bad call, since a Villanova defender had gotten a full hand on the ball, so the whistle was right, but it should have been a jump ball.
Best shooter here?
Well, Samuels aside, former Temple star Lynn Greer was sitting in the second row.