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Villanova 76, Temple 56

PHILADELPHIA - Faced with a halftime deficit, Collin Gillespie and Villanova didn’t panic.

Gillespie scored a season-high 29 points to lead No. 15 Villanova to a 76-56 comeback victory over Philadelphia rival Temple.

Jermaine Samuels added 13 points and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 10 for Villanova (19-6), which won its seventh straight game over Temple while finishing 4-0 in the Big 5.

The Wildcats, hurt by early foul trouble to starters Justin Moore and Robinson-Earl, trailed by four points at halftime. But they took over after the break, using a game-changing 20-2 run over the first 5 minutes, 46 seconds of the second half to take control.

“We were good, we were positive, we knew we had to make adjustments and stick to our game plan,” Gillespie said of the feeling at the break. “In the second half we made stops at the defensive end, and it gave us easy opportunities at offensive end.”

Villanova made 7 of 10 shots, including 6 of 8 3-pointers, during the stretch while Temple was 1 of 8 from the field, 0 for 3 from beyond the arc and committed five turnovers.

“Great second half,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “We just made shots. When that happens, any team is tough to beat. It started with our defensive effort in second half and that led to making shots. That together was the difference.”

Quinton Rose scored 22 points and Nate Pierre-Louis had 16 for Temple (13-12).

Temple was in good position to pull off the upset after the opening 20 minutes.

But Villanova quickly erased a four-point halftime deficit by hitting three 3-pointers early in the second half, the last by Gillespie with 17:41 remaining put Villanova up 35-30.

And the Wildcats continued to pour it on.

Moore's 3-pointer with 14:14 left gave Villanova a 46-32 lead.

Temple got within seven at 49-42 on Rose’s drive with 10 minutes left, but never got closer.

Outside shooting was a big difference, as Villanova made 17 of 36 on 3-pointers while Temple was 2 of 16 from beyond the arc.

“It’s really been our Achilles’ heel,” Temple coach Aaron McKie said.

Gillespie had a career-high seven 3-pointers.

“He trumped us this afternoon,” McKie said.

Associated Press

February 16, 2020

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