Villanova coach Jay Wright contended all along that the Big Five would help his team prepare for the obstacle course that is the Big East Conference schedule, only two days away.
That was the case for a while tonight against Temple. The Owls outplayed the Wildcats for 25 minutes before they went ice-cold and Corey Fisher got hot.
Fisher, a sophomore guard, scored 19 of his game-high 23 points in the final 13 minutes to rally the 15th-ranked Wildcats to a 62-45 victory at the Pavilion and give them the Big Five championship with a 4-0 record.
"It's an honor for us," Wright said. "We take great pride in winning the Big Five championship. What it really does is prepare you for the Big East. This is a long, athletic Temple team, and while Marquette is different from Temple, teams like Syracuse and Connecticut are similar."
The Wildcats visit Marquette on Thursday.
Fisher, who tied his career high, sank seven of eight shots from the field, including all four of his three-point attempts. He scored eight points in a run of 14 straight that turned the game in favor of Villanova (12-1).
The Owls (5-6, 0-1) took an eight-point lead 51/2 minutes into the second half, then went without a field goal for more than 11 minutes. Dionte Christmas, their leading scorer with a 20.8-point average, hit just one of 12 shots in the second half and finished with 13 points.
The Wildcats never led in the game until Fisher fueled the run. He connected on back-to-back three-balls and a pair of free throws, while Scottie Reynolds knocked down a pair from beyond the arc.
Until his first trey, with 14 minutes, 11 seconds to play, Reynolds had been scoreless, missing all six of his shots from the floor. His second trey, with 11:40 remaining, put Villanova in front by 38-32.
The Owls had no punch for a comeback. After Lavoy Allen hit a layup to give Temple a 32-24 lead with 14:33 to play, the visitors missed nine straight attempts from the field and committed six turnovers. Luis Guzman's layup with 3:14 to play broke the dry spell.
Fisher helped the Wildcats build their lead with a pull-up bank shot in the lane and his fourth three-point basket.
The Owls hit four free throws, including two by Christmas after a technical foul called against Wright, to get inside 10 points with 4:51 remaining.
But Fisher hit a floater and Dante Cunningham slammed home a dunk to boost the margin back to 13.
Temple freshman guard Juan Fernandez, who played for the under-18 national team of Argentina last summer, was in uniform and eligible for the game but did not play. Fernandez enrolled at Temple on Friday.
Neither team did anything of distinction offensively in the first half, but the Owls shot a little better. They led by as many as seven points and entered intermission holding a 25-22 lead.
Christmas scored eight points in the opening 20 minutes and also led Temple in rebounds with four and assists with three. The Owls shot 40.9 percent from the field but did not convert a field goal after Ryan Brooks' jumper from just inside the arc with 4:38 remaining.
The Wildcats shot only 32.1 percent, and got nothing from their guards, in the first half. The group shot a combined 2 of 15 from the field, and Reynolds misfired on all six of his attempts, going 0 for 4 from three-point land.
Reynolds appeared to be pressing, taking a few quick shots and hesitating in situations in which he usually drives to the hoop.
Cunningham led the Wildcats at the half with 10 points, shooting 5 for 10, but had his hands full inside with 7-foot Sergio Olmos.