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Villanova powers past Temple to win Big 5 title

Omari Spellman’s career high lifts ‘Nova to their fifth straight Big 5 championship.

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Temple Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Villanova Wildcats opened their Big 5 finale with a 10-2 run over the Temple Owls. Although Temple answered with a run of their own, the Wildcats never truly let up. The ‘Cats, now 11-0 on the year, won 87-67 over the Owls.

With Collin Gillespie out this game, ‘Nova needed someone to pick up some of the slack. Phil Booth struggled with a virus, and only had two points and three assists. Mikal Bridges was kept in check, accumulating just seven points. Jalen Brunson, however, made it rain. Brunson posted a career-high 31 points on 68 percent shooting from the field. Brunson also added five assists and six rebounds to his stellar performance. Omari Spellman impressed as well, adding a career-high of his own with 27 points. Spellman also inhaled eight rebounds, and made many heads-up plays not noted in the box score.

Seeing this kind of play from him makes Villanova look more and more like an NCAA Tournament favorite.

As a team, Villanova shot 60% from the field and 46% from behind the arc. They faltered a bit when it came to free throws, only shooting 66% from the line. Defensively, they limited Temple to 47% from the field, as well as nab seven steals and add two blocks.

As for Temple, they kept themselves and their fans in the game. They kept Villanova from scoring through stretches, and were normally a dunk or a 3-pointer away from igniting the crowd. Quinton Rose racked up 27 points and three steals. Shizz Alston Jr. chipped in 10 and Josh Brown added another 12.

The #1 team in the land will now head to Nassau Coliseum to play the Hofstra Pride.