The city of Philadelphia belongs to Villanova once more.
Maybe not legally, but the Wildcats retained their Big 5 bragging rights by defeating the Temple Owls 78-57 for their fourth consecutive Big 5 title.
Fighting for Philly glory at The Pavilion, both teams began their play with a decidedly slow start. Shooting inefficiency was an equal problem for both the Owls and the Wildcats, but Temple additionally struggled with easily given-up turnovers.
Despite the turnovers, Temple was relentless in keeping the game competitive. The Owls concentrated on beating ‘Nova to the glass and exerting themselves onto as many rebounds as they could muster. The Wildcats ended the first half on a 9-0 run, but still displayed signs of a decently contested second half to come.
However, the start of the second half marked a different speed for ‘Nova.
Its catalyst? Josh Hart.
Not to be deterred by his sparse scoring within the first half, Hart unleashed a next level fury onto the court. Villanova’s hero against Notre Dame ramped up his shooting, scoring impressively executed 3-pointers and fired-up charges to the bucket. Ending the game with 26 points, Hart was ‘Nova’s clear offensive leader.
How does one even begin to explain Hart’s sudden influx of sheer basket domination? It’s unearthly. It’s as though he is mortal for a half, tricking us into thinking he’s a typical senior player. And then boom. Hart taps into an ethereal overdrive and is unstoppable.
“Unstoppable” may have also been the key term for Eric Paschall tonight, tying with Kris Jenkins for scoring 12 points and 6 rebounds. Whereas Jenkins dominates outside the arc, Paschall brought power inside the paint. With numerous forceful dunks, Paschall was a crucial player underneath the bucket for the Wildcats. Unafraid to scramble in the deep, Paschall put his 6’7 frame to the test and came out with flying colors.
Temple out-rebounded the Wildcats 34-32, but Villanova’s 46.3% FG% ultimately shut out the Owls. ‘Nova’s senior class gets the distinct pleasure of being undefeated in Big 5 play, and the Wildcats improve to 11-0 this season.