Temple's campus on North Broad Street had a big game feel Wednesday night as the No. 1 team in the country traveled a few miles down I-76 to the Liacouras center for a showdown against the Owls.
But Temple didn't have enough juice for a fourth upset over a ranked team this season after being mauled 83-67 by the Wildcats. The won clinched a Big 5 title for Villanova. They also ironically kept their city streak of winning by 14 points or more alive for the 12th straight contest.
Villanova probably did not play its best 40 minutes but it didn't matter, as a defensive intensity helped overcome a rocking Temple student section and jam-packed arena.
They also had Jalen Brunson, who at one point nailed three straight three pointers in the second half en route to 25 points. Other key contributors for the Cats included Phil Booth (12), Kris Jenkins (15) and Daniel Ochefu (16 points, nine rebounds).
In the second half Villanova came out like the top team in the nation, increasing it's edge to 22 points, the biggest lead of the game.
A Trey Lowe two-handed slam at 13:29 woke the crowd back up and got the Owls back within 17 and suffocating Owls defense made it 12, 65-53 at the 7:11 mark thanks to a trio of Lowe 3-pointers. Another Lowe trey chipped it to 73-62 with 3:18 to go. He led all Owls' scorers with 21 points.
Their valiant attempt to make it a game was thwarted by the clock as time ran out on an unlikely comeback dropping Temple to 16-9 on the year.
In the first half, a 8-0 run for Villanova (six of them for Phil Booth) at 11:04 took a little energy out of the raucous crowd.
Just five minutes later the Wildcats built a 14-point lead, 31-17 inside the five-minute mark.
Despite a solid effort, a 12-point deficit followed the Owls into the locker room 35-23 after 20 minutes.