Gillespie leads No. 15 Villanova past Temple
Collin Gillespie scored a season-high 29 points to lead No. 15 Villanova to a 76-56 victory over Temple
Collin Gillespie scored a season-high 29 points to lead No. 15 Villanova to a 76-56 victory over Philadelphia rival Temple on Sunday.
Jermaine Samuels added 13 points and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 10 for Villanova (19-6), which won its seventh straight game over Temple while finishing 4-0 in the Big 5.
Quinton Rose scored 22 points and Nate Pierre-Louis had 16 for Temple (13-12).
Temple and Villanova have been the standard bearers of the Philadelphia Big 5, the yearly city round-robin series that also includes La Salle, Penn and Saint Joseph’s. The Wildcats already had clinched at least a share of their 27th title with wins earlier this season over the other three Philadelphia rivals. They are now tied with Temple for most Big 5 titles.
The Owls last beat the Wildcats on Dec. 5, 2012, and Villanova increased its lead to 51-43 in the series that goes back to 1914.
Temple was in good position to pull off the upset after the opening 20 minutes.
But Villanova quickly erased a four-point halftime deficit by hitting three 3-pointers early in the second half, the last by Gillespie with 17:43 remaining put Villanova up 35-30. Temple committed three turnovers on each of its first three possessions to open the second half and didn’t attempt a field goal during the Wildcats’ 9-0 spurt.
And the Wildcats continued to pour it on.
Justin Moore’s 3-pointer with 14:16 left gave Villanova a 46-32 lead and capped a game-changing 20-2 run to open the second half. Villanova made 7 of 10 shots, including 6 of 8 3-pointers, during the stretch while Temple was 1 of 8 from the field, 0 for 3 from beyond the arc and committed five turnovers.
Temple got within seven at 49-42 on Rose’s drive with 10 minutes left, but never got closer.
Outside shooting was a big difference, as Villanova made 17 of 36 on 3-pointers while Temple was 2 of 16 from beyond the arc.
Gillespie had a career-high seven 3-pointers.
Gillespie hit a pair of 3s to open the game, giving Villanova a 6-0 advantage that would be its largest lead of the half. Temple benefited from some early Villanova foul trouble as Wildcats starters Moore and Robinson-Earl had two fouls apiece just 4:20 into the game.
Temple took its largest lead of the half on Rose’s jumper that made it 28-22 with 2½ minutes left, and the Owls were up 30-26 at the break when Rose followed his own miss with a second to play.
Rose had 14 points at the intermission while Villanova leading scorer Saddiq Bey scored four. Bey finished with nine.
Villanova: The Wildcats are third in the tough Big East with six conference games remaining. Villanova has a chance to finish strong in the league, as five of its six remaining Big East games are against teams that are the bottom five teams in the league. Villanova’s other conference game is a rematch at first-place Seton Hall on March 4. The Pirates defeated Villanova 70-64 on Feb. 8 at the Wells Fargo Center.
Temple: The Owls’ best hope to make the NCAA tournament is to win the American Athletic Conference tournament and Temple could help itself with a better seeding. The top four league teams get a first-round bye in the conference tournament. Temple is 5-7 in the AAC and three games back of fourth-place SMU with six games remaining. If the Owls can’t grab the No. 4 seed or higher, they’ll have to win four games in four days in the AAC tournament to grab the conference’s automatic bid.
Villanova: At DePaul on Wednesday.
Temple: Hosts Connecticut on Thursday.
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