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No. 7 Villanova too much for Temple

No. 7 Villanova beat Temple, 85-62, in a Big Five matchup at the Pavilion.

Early this month, Villanova won by 14 at LaSalle.

Three days later, the Wildcats beat Saint Joseph's by 28 on the Main Line.

Yesterday afternoon, once again at the Pavilion, it was another Big 5 team's turn to take a shot at the nation's seventh-ranked team.

Temple, which was 1-3 in non-North Philly games, had won three of the previous five meetings, including the last one on Lancaster Avenue, in 2012, their first win at Villanova in a little over two decades.

Not this time.

The Wildcats remained unbeaten through their first 10 games with an 85-62 victory.

Sixth man Josh Hart became the first Wildcat to get 20 points, and he'd already reached that in less than 29 minutes. That's what he'd end up with. So would Darrun Hilliard, who joined him by making a free throw in the closing stretch before both went to the bench for good.

Quenton DeCosey topped Temple with 18, but shot just 4-for-16.

It was 39-26 at halftime, after Villanova used an early 13-0 spurt to build a double-digit lead. The Wildcats, who pretty much live off their defense, were shooting 14-for-25 at that point. When they get numbers like that it's almost not fair, despite the fact that Temple was doing a really good job taking care of the ball against the relentless pressure.

The margin would grow to as many as 24, at several junctures midway and then later through the second half. The Owls would score nine straight, as Villanova started getting a little too sloppy, to make it a 13-point game with 4:36 to go, even forcing Wright to call a timeout that he probably hadn't been planning on. His guys would score the next seven.

Next up for the Wildcats is a familiar rival from the old Big East days, Syracuse, on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center. They lost last December at the Carrier Dome by 16, after leading by 18 in the first half. You think they remember?

The Owls will head down I-95 to Delaware on Thursday before hosting Kansas in South Philly on Dec. 22. They'll at least be whole the rest of the way, since transfer guards Jesse Morgan and Devin Coleman are finally eligible now that the first semester is over. The additions can only be a plus, maybe even big ones. And it's not so much about how you're playing now as it is about how you're looking in another six weeks or so.

Temple finished 2-2 in the City Series. Villanova still has to play Penn at the Palestra in mid-January.