Villanova survives a poor shooting night in route of Temple

Joe Juliano, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Basketball

VILLANOVA, Pa. -- Villanova shot poorly enough for much of its game Wednesday night against Temple to appear to be in danger of seeing its 23-game winning streak in Big 5 play end.

But the 21st-ranked Wildcats, getting a major contribution from reserve forward Jermaine Samuels, roared from behind with a 12-0 run late in the second half and went on to a 69-59 victory over the Owls at the Finneran Pavilion.

Samuels, who came into the game with a 3.0 point average, provided a spark to the Wildcats' comeback by scoring a team-high 15 points. Eleven of them came in a 7-minute stretch of the second half, a run that included three 3-point baskets.

Samuels drained a 3 and sank two free throws during a 12-0 run that brought the Wildcats (7-2, 2-0 Big 5) from a four-point deficit to a 55-47 lead with 3 minutes, 14 seconds remaining after Phil Booth sank a pair of free throws. Temple went nearly four minutes without a point until Shizz Alston hit a 3-pointer with 2:45 remaining to make it 55-50.

The Wildcats managed to keep the margin between five and seven for much of the remaining time, with Samuels hitting a follow-up basket and a pair of free throws. Collin Gillespie sank four free throws in the final minute to provide breathing room.

Eric Paschall, who shot just 3 of 15 from the floor, added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Cats. Nate Pierre-Louis scored 17 points and Alston added 15 for the Owls (7-2, 2-1), who was the last team to beat Villanova in a Big 5 game, exactly six years ago to the day at the same venue.

The Wildcats outrebounded Temple, 22-11, in the second half, and by 36-28 for the game, in breaking a two-game home losing streak.

Villanova made just 2 of its last 11 shots in the first half, and 3 of its first 11 in the second. The Owls, whose largest lead came at 33-26 early in the second half, led 38-33 with 11:32 to play and maintained their advantage at 47-43 on Rose's driving basket with 6:40 to play before the Villanova surge.

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The Wildcats led by 24-23 at halftime but Temple took control in the second half by scoring the first seven points, five by Rose, to take a 30-24 lead, and extended their advantage to seven, 33-26, on Rose's layup with 16:08 left in the second half.

The Wildcats scored the next seven points to tie the game but the Owls responded by scoring on their next six possessions, with Pierre-Louis scoring six points during that time, to regain the lead at 45-41 with just under 9 minutes to play.

Both teams struggled to put the ball in the basket in the first half. Villanova held a 24-23 lead by the end of the period despite shooting just 37.5 percent from the field and 4 of 11 from 3-point range. The Owls made 40 percent of their field-goal attempts with one 3 and outrebounded the Wildcats 17-14.


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