Temple coach Fran Dunphy thought the Owls did not play well at either end of the court in the first half Wednesday night, yet his team trailed by only four points at the break against Villanova.

But when the Owls picked up their play at both ends of the court in the second half, they turned the Pavilion into the Liacouras Center's Main Line branch, their fans hanging around to celebrate a 76-61 victory in their Big Five opener over the Wildcats.

The Owls (6-0, 1-0) defeated Villanova (4-4, 0-2) at the Pavilion for the first time since 1990, a span of six games.

Temple outscored the Wildcats, 18-2, in the opening 6½ minutes of the second half, making seven of its first 10 shots while the Cats didn't hit a field goal for the first 10 minutes, 20 seconds. The Owls turned a 36-32 halftime deficit into a 50-32 lead.

Villanova, which missed its first 10 second-half shots in all, did not get closer than seven the rest of the way.

"We didn't do a very good job on offense in the first half; obviously we didn't do a very good job on defense because they shot over 50 percent," Dunphy said. "Our shot selection led to some easy baskets for them, and it just didn't look like we were very together in the first half.

"But I give these guys a lot of credit. I thought they came out in the second half and did a great job on defense. I thought we moved the ball well. I think, overall, I'm hoping that this is a sign that we can be playing better as we move forward."

Scootie Randall, who had five of Temple's 10 three-point baskets, led the Owls with 21, and Anthony Lee tied a career high with 16.

"I think getting off to a good start got the team going," Randall said. "I think that was big for us."

The Wildcats, meanwhile, continued to be plagued by turnovers. They committed a season-high 20, with seven coming during their second-half drought. The Owls scored 18 points off the miscues.

"We were turning the ball over, and then they were scoring and getting set in their defense, and we struggled against their defense," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "That run was obviously the game. That's not the kind of team you're going to press. They have too many ball handlers and pressers."

James Bell led the Wildcats with 15 points. Tony Chennault, who added 10, scored 'Nova's first basket of the second half, a three-pointer, with 9:41 to play, then hit the next two field goals. The Cats didn't hit another basket until less than two minutes remained.

Contact Joe Juliano at jjuliano@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @joejulesinq