Temple (5-0) at Villanova (4-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 5, 9 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Pavilion (6,500) -- Villanova, Pennsylvania. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Temple 3-0, Villanova 2-1. Away Record: Temple 2-0, Villanova 1-1. Neutral Record: Temple 0-0, Villanova 1-1. Conference Record: Temple 0-0, Villanova 0-0. Series Record: Villanova leads, 43-41.
GAME NOTES: The red-hot Temple Owls pay a visit to the Villanova Wildcats on Wednesday night for a non-league showdown between Philadelphia Big 5 rivals.
Temple sits at 5-0 for the first time in 25 years. The Owls were in action this past weekend, notching a 70-62 home win over Wagner. On tap following this contest is a matchup with second-ranked Duke at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Saturday.
Villanova topped Vanderbilt in Saturday's SEC/Big East Challenge matchup in Nashville, 62-52. The win snapped a three-game slide for the Wildcats, who were playing their first true road game outside of Philadelphia. Following this tilt, they'll play another Big 5 contest at Penn on Saturday.
Villanova holds a narrow 43-41 lead in the all-time series between these local rivals, although Temple has claimed two of the last three meetings.
Temple fell behind 10-2 in the opening minutes against Wagner. However, Khalif Wyatt answered with a three-point play to kickstart a 10-0 run for the Owls. Wyatt's layup with 12:35 to play in the opening frame gave the Owls a 14-13 lead, and they never trailed again the rest of the way. Wyatt finished with a season-high 26 points behind a 9-of-16 effort from the floor, as he came within two points of matching his career-high of 28 points. Scootie Randall chipped in with 10 points and nine rebounds in the victory. Randall has been a steady presence in the paint through five games, averaging a team-best 15.8 points and 7.2 rebounds. Anthony Lee is also averaging 7.2 boards. He is shooting 66.7 percent from the floor and is averaging 10.4 ppg, while Wyatt is second on the team with 15.6 ppg.
After yielding an average of 77.5 points over their previous four outings, the Wildcats clamped down defensively against Vanderbilt on the road. They held the Commodores to 37-percent shooting from the floor and only 52 points. Villanova also enjoyed a 34-28 rebounding advantage for the game. Mouphtaou Yarou led the way with 16 points and seven rebounds, while JayVaughn Pinkston came off the bench to tally 13 points and eight caroms. Leading scorer Ryan Arcidiacono (12.9 ppg) had a quiet night, finishing with eight points on 1- of-6 shooting. Pinkston is second on the team with 12.4 ppg to go along with 5.4 rebounds. James Bell (10.7 ppg) and Darrun Hilliard (10.3 ppg) round out the Wildcats averaging double figures.
Temple has had the upper hand in this series of late, but the Wildcats would love nothing more than to knock their rivals off their current perch. While the game figures to be tight, the Owls boast a bit more offensive firepower.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Temple 78, Villanova 71
12/05 10:39:50 ET