With 17 minutes, 41 seconds remaining in the second half, Villanova junior guard Collin Gillespie hit a three-pointer to put the Wildcats ahead 35-30. Temple University men’s basketball had led by four at halftime, but Gillespie’s three capped a 9-0 Wildcats run putting them ahead by five.
The Owls (13-12, 5-7 The American Athletic Conference) lost 76-56 at home to the Wildcats (18-6, 8-4 The Big East). The Wildcats outscored the Owls 50-26 in the second half.
“It started with our defense in the second half,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “It leads to making shots and once we put that together it was the difference.”
Gillespie finished the game with 29 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the floor, including 7-of-11 from three-point range. The Wildcats finished the game 17-of-36 from three-point range while the Owls shot 2-for-16 from three-point range.
Temple’s leading scorer was senior guard Quinton Rose who finished with 22 points while shooting 10-for-22 from the field. Junior guard Nate Pierre-Louis was the Owls’ second-leading scorer with 16 points.
Although Pierre-Louis prides himself on his defense, he struggled to guard Gillespie for most of the game.
“I put a lot of blame on myself,” Pierre-Louis said. “I take full responsibility. I feel like I lost [Gillespie] a couple of times.”
On the last possession of the first half, Rose drove down the court and missed a layup, but got his own rebound to score right as time expired, putting the Owls ahead 30-26.
The Wildcats came out of the second half and made three of their first four three-pointers, including one from freshman forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl who finished the game with 10 points while shooting 4-for-8 from the floor.
The Wildcats made 13 three-pointers in the second half.
“They certainly give them a different look offensively,” coach Aaron McKie said. “Robinson-Earl especially being able to make threes. It really makes them a different team if he is knocking down threes.”
Temple finished the game shooting just 36.7 percent from the floor. Other than Pierre-Louis and Rose, no player scored more than 10 points. Redshirt-junior guard Monty Scott scored seven points including one of the Owls’ three-pointers.
“It has been a revolving door for us,” McKie said. “You would hope you would get more consistency from guys getting confidence. It has really been our Achilles heel.”
Temple’s next game is Thursday, Feb. 20 at home against Connecticut (13-11, 4-7 The AAC). The Owls lost to the Huskies 78-63 on Wednesday, Jan. 29.