In the season’s second “Philadelphia Big 5” match-up for Villanova, remnants of Saturday’s gritty game against La Salle were ever-present. While the Wildcats narrowly maintained the lead in the first half, Temple forced quick-paced play that readily exposed ‘Nova’s deficiencies both offensively and defensively.
The second half of the game quickly demolished whatever slim margin Villanova had mustered. The Owls broke the half open with a 6-0 run, and frankly, all seemed grim for the Wildcats as the Owls progressed. Fighting against the ebb and flow of Temple’s lead, Samuels splashed a massive three-pointer near the final nine-minute mark, signifying a major momentum boost for ‘Nova.
From Samuels’ shot onward, a slam by Eric Paschall and Collin Gillespie’s free throws to tie the game set the scene for Samuels to once more drop three-point fire. Finally securing the lead with five minutes left, Samuels was able to effectively electrify ‘Nova’s largely lifeless offense.
Villanova was able to scrap together their W even with under-shooting Temple 40% for field goals, compared to the Owls’ 45% FG. And while Temple also outscored ‘Nova in the paint 32-26, the Wildcats were able to out-rebound Temple 36-28. Samuels topped shooting for Villanova with 15 points, while Nate Pierre-Louis lead Temple with 19 points.
Villanova continues their Big 5 play this weekend, hosting St. Joseph’s this Saturday at the Finn.