3 things we learned in Temple’s 69-59 loss to Villanova


For the sixth season in a row, Temple basketball fell short against Jay Wright and the Villanova Wildcats, this time losing 69-59. Villanova’s win was fueled by forward Jermain Samuel who scored 15 off the bench including a perfect 3/3 shooting from beyond the arch. Sophomore Nate Pierre-Louis led the way for the Owls with 19, and point-guard Shizz Alston added 15 of his own.  Both teams are now 7-2 on the season as conference play begins later this month.


Temple has the roster to play in March
While Villanova pulled away in the last five minutes of the game, Fran Dunphy’s squad put together a very impressive performance and kept it competitive the entire time, including a lead of seven early in the second half.  While this lead withered away and Temple ultimately lost the game by ten, the Owls showed their ability to stay in games with a good opponent in a tough atmosphere. If they play with this same intensity during their in-conference schedule, they can certainly pile up enough wins to enter the field of 68.


The defense is good
This is not the same Villanova team that rode high-scoring from strong perimeter shooting to a national title last year, but the offense is not shabby, either.  The 25 points the Wildcats scored in the first half was the second-worst half they have played all season, the worst being a 17-point first half in the early loss to Michigan. The Owls did a good job of playing tight and contesting Villanova shots, which led to more misses than makes for Jay Wright’s team. However…


The offense needs work
When Villanova went on a 12-0 run down the stretch to solidify their lead, Temple had several consecutive possessions where they could not even find a good shot to get off. This coupled with a 24-point first half showed that while Temple has three guards with very high upside in Quentin Rose, Shizz Alston Jr., and Nate Pierre-Louis, it also can stagnate and turn into runs for the opposing team. This has been a problem for Fran Dunphy offenses for years, and it needs to be fixed for Temple to avoid long-runs like the one that ultimately led to their loss to Villanova.



Rebounding is an issue
Most of Temple’s production comes from its guards, which is fine as long as the big men can clean up down low. There were several instances, however, of good defense that led to a Villanova miss but ultimately turned into an easy bucket off an offensive rebound. Temple was out-rebounded 36-28 overall and 11-5 on offensive rebounds, and Villanova scored easily off of several of these rebounds. Center Ernest Aflakpui is not going to provide much offensive production, but he has to do a better job of boxing out the opposing teams and securing boards. Otherwise, good defensive possessions are wasted and momentum is deterred.


Up next:  The Owls (7-2) play UMass (5-4) at the Liacouras Center next Wednesday


Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports