Temple Hits 11 Threes, Stuns No. 3 Nova In Philly

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

PHILADELPHIA(AP) Villanova's perfect record and city dominance are finished.

Juan Fernandez hit seven 3-pointers and scored a career-high 33 points and Ryan Brooks added 20 points in Temple's 75-65 victory over the third-ranked Wildcats on Sunday.

Temple (8-2) fans bellowed ''Overrated!'' moments before they stormed the court in their biggest win in coach Fran Dunphy's four seasons

Fernandez led a sizzling 3-point attack that stunned the Wildcats (9-1) in the second half and helped them pull away for their first win over a top-five team since beating No. 1 Cincinnati on Feb. 20, 2000. The Owls opened the half on an 11-0 run and grabbed a lead they would never surrender.

The fans want an encore, stomping the court and chanting ''We Want Kansas!'' in preparation for the top-ranked Jayhawks' visit on Jan. 2.

The Wildcats hadn't lost a city series game since Dec. 4, 2008, against Saint Joseph's. Villanova has won 21 of its last 23 Big 5 games.

Lavoy Allen had 10 points and 17 rebounds for the Owls in their fourth straight win.

Scottie Reynolds led Villanova with 23 points, Antonio Pena had 16 and Corey Fisher 14.

The Owls made the NCAA tournament the last two seasons under Dunphy and were certainly not a pushover for Villanova.

But the Wildcats have ruled the city series like few teams in the 55-year history of the Big 5. The Wildcats had cruised through the city games like a No. 1 seed handles a 16 in the tournament.

After Reynolds made a layup off his steal, then hit a pull-up 3 on the next possession for a 31-19 lead, Villanova appeared on its way to another rout in its perfect start.

Not so fast.

The Owls entered shooting only 29 percent from 3-point range, but, as so often happens in a Big 5 game in front of a packed crowd, the numbers are meaningless.

Fernandez hit big 3 after big 3, each one more meaningful than the last. His first one of the second half put the Owls ahead 39-37 and Craig Williams followed with a 3-pointer to cap an 11-0 run that put the roaring crowd on its feet.

Reynolds coolly keep Villanova in the game with a 3 that brought them to 49-47 and made it seem like Temple's lead would be short-lived.

Not Sunday. In front of nearly 8,500 raucous fans at the Liacouras Center, Brooks nailed a 3 and so did Fernandez for a 59-53 lead.

The Owls made 11 of 22 3-pointers after entering a woeful 49 of 168. Fernandez, who was averaging only 10.6 points, missed only two of his 3-point attempts.

Villanova coach Jay Wright likes to say how Big 5 games - city games against Temple, Saint Joseph's, Penn and La Salle - ready his team for a rugged Big East season even though the nonconference games rarely help their RPI.

The Owls gave them everything they could handle and looked like they were the team that ruled the city. Temple lost by one point earlier this season to No. 15 Georgetown, and have proved they are poised again to make a deep run in the Atlantic 10.

When Villanova looked like it was turning this one into a rout midway through the first half, Fernandez and Brooks sank 3s to slice the deficit to 37-31 at halftime.

Villanova guard Reggie Redding returns to the team for Saturday's game against Fordham. Redding, arrested and charged over the summer with possession of a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, violated the school's student of code of conduct.

Temple's football team was honored for its first bowl game in 30 years.


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