Sports

Temple shut out No. 16 Villanova for the first time since 2012

Temple shut out No. 16 Villanova for the first time since 2012

Philadelphia — Caliph’s War Delirious was lost in a throng of Temple students who thronged the court to celebrate one of the program’s wildest victories in years.

Just one problem.

The tiniest ticks stuck to the clock.

Hey, it’s been 10 years the owl Knock off the mighty Villanova. What about a few more seconds?

“It felt like the party had just begun,” Battle said. “I mean, they had to chalk-up a shot with 2 seconds on the clock. You do it, I take my hat off. But we won.”

Damian Dunn drew a foul on a driving layup with 1.1 seconds left and made both free throws as Temple beat No. 16 Villanova 68-64 on Friday night, sending Owls fans into a court-storming frenzy — twice! –at the Liacouras Center.

14 lead changes in the second half helped make it a Big 5 classic. All that was missing was the Palestra.

“Temple had a big-time program,” Battle said. “We’re trying to bring it back. Bring our name back. It was a big deal.”

Dunn sank the first free throw for a 65-64 lead and the Villanova sophomore guard called timeout to ice it. Temple security guards lined the court in anticipation of the mayhem ahead — and delivered right.

He hit the second one, Temple’s Jack Hicks The in-bounds pass was intercepted and hundreds of fans immediately crowded the court. The announcer at the public address ordered the fans to clear the court — “The game is not over!” — even the 0.0 on the scoreboard was frozen.

It appeared that Villanova had been fouled Eric Dixon And Hicks went to the free-throw line with 0.2 on the clock and hundreds of Temple students stuffed behind another basket ready to run again.

Both Hicks and Villanova called a final timeout. Temple players high-fived impatient fans and tried to keep the peace off the court as well. When the game finally ended, Temple Court Storm, Take 2!

Temple coach Aaron McKee earned his signature win in his four seasons on the bench. The Owls beat a top 25 team for the first time since topping No. 16 Wichita State 65-52 on January 15, 2020.

“It’s great for the players to see, that’s the strength of the college that these kids go to play college basketball for,” McKee said.

Dunn led the Owls (1-1) with 22 points and Battle had 21 points.

Caleb Daniels Villanova (1-1) was led by 19 points and Dixon had 18. Villanova averaged 26 3-point attempts per game last season but made just 2 of 7 shots against Temple. The Owls denied shots on the perimeter and forced the Wildcats to attempt passes in the paint, which they hit with mixed results.

“They did a good job of taking away what we wanted to do,” Villanova coach Kyle Neptune said.

Rivalry games at St. Joseph’s, Villanova, La Salle, Penn and Temple have been woven into the fabric of Philadelphia sports for more than 60 years. The Big 5, however, lost its luster in the last decade as the Wildcats became a national power and the other four teams couldn’t keep pace.

The pandemic has wiped out each of the annual matchups for the past two seasons, and this is the first meeting since Villanova won on February 16, 2020. The Owls haven’t won the series since Dec. 5, 2012, when Fran Dunphy was still the coach. Villanova won seven straight in the series by an average of 18 points.

Owls hit the sack-up court for upset.

Battle, healthy after missing most of last season with a broken leg, hit a 3 and then converted a four-point play for a 24-11 lead. Temple devotees erupted.

The Wildcats had their game off in Neptune’s second game as he replaced retired Hall of Famer Jay Wright. Villanova went on an 11-3 run and trailed 34-29.

Friday’s result tied for the first time in a season that Villanova has lost to an unranked opponent as a ranked team. The Wildcats had suffered the same fate twice before in the second game of the 1994-95 season (losing 85-64 vs. Minnesota) and the second game of the 1988-89 season (losing 102-81 vs. Southern Illinois).

The Wildcats played without expected starters Justin Moore (out indefinitely, torn Achilles) and preseason BIG EAST Freshman of the Year Cam Whitmore (right thumb).

None of that mattered as fans ignored PA requests and danced and took selfies with Hooters after the final horn.

ESPN Stats & Facts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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