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.
Temple stunned Villanova with an 18-2 run in the opening 6½ minutes of the second half Wednesday night and went on to a 76-61 victory over the Wildcats in a Big Five game at the Pavilion.
After trailing by 36-32 at the half, the Owls, who improved to 6-0 with the win in their initial City Series game of the season, made seven of their first 10 shots from the field while holding Villanova (4-4, 0-2) without a field goal for more than 10 minutes.
The spurt ended with Anthony Lee's free throw that put the Owls ahead, 50-38. The Wildcats trimmed the deficit to seven, but Temple got seven points from Lee in a 15-6 run that gave the visitors a 69-53 lead with 3:03 to play.
Scootie Randall led the Owls with 21 points, and Lee tied a career high with 16. James Bell had 15 points for the Wildcats, who committed 20 turnovers.
Temple used a strong second-half run to take a 52-45 lead with 7 minutes, 53 seconds left in the second half.
The Owls trailed, 36-32, at the half but came out firing in the second half while the Wildcats went ice-cold, going without a field goal for the first 10:19 of the period.
Temple ran off an 18-2 spurt in the opening 6½ minutes of the half, hitting 7 of 10 shots from the field, including three three-pointers, two of them by Scootie Randall. A free throw by Anthony Lee put the Owls in front by 50-38 with 13:25 remaining.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats scored on just one of their first 11 possessions of the half - two free throws by Darrun Hilliard. They made four more trips to the foul line after that but converted only one free throw, by JayVaughn Pinkston.
Finally, guard Tony Chennault broke the drought for Villanova on a three-point basket with 9:41 remaining in the half. Up until that point, the Wildcats were 0 of 9 from the field with seven turnovers in the period. The Owls had cooled off from their 7-of-10 start, going scoreless for a four-minute stretch.
Chennault hit another three on Villanova's next possession.
Villanova capitalized on a scoreless stretch of more than five minutes to take a 36-32 lead at the half. Ryan Arcidiacano scored nine points to lead the Wildcats, and Randall led the Owls with 10.
The Wildcats shot 51.9 percent from the field compared with 32.4 percent for Temple, but the Owls took seven more shots on the strength of a 7-3 edge in offensive rebounds and nine turnovers for 'Nova in the first half.
Exactly half (17) of Temple's 34 shots were from three-point range; they converted five.
Khalif Wyatt, Temple's No. 2 scorer with a 15.6-point average, had only three points at the half on 1-of-9 shooting. The Owls also were hurt by two early fouls against point guard Will Cummings, who played only six minutes.