Instant Replay: Villanova 73, No. 5 Louisville 64

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Instant Replay: Villanova 73, No. 5 Louisville 64

BOX SCORE

Villanova shook up the Big East and the national rankings with a 73-64 win over No. 5 Louisville on Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Archaf Yacoubou drained a three-pointer with four minutes remaining to break a tie at 53, and James Bell hit a three of his own 51 seconds later to help the Wildcats secure the victory.

Turning point
Villanova can look at the end of the game to see how they pulled off the upset, but the Wildcats should really trace back to the first frame to see where the game was won.

The Cats got the faithful rocking when Tony Chenault followed up a thunderous dunk by Daniel Ochefu with a three-pointer to give Villanova a 10-point lead midway through the first half. But Villanova didnt keep its foot on the gas.

The Cardinals began to shake their early shooting woes and turned up the full-court pressure defensively to the tune of a 12-0 run to get back in the game.

The Wildcats went nearly five minutes without a point but were able to regroup late in the half and take a 30-28 lead into intermission.

Teams typically wilt after runs like that from top-tier squads like Louisville. The Wildcats proved to be anything but typical on this night.

Big man on campus
Ryan Arcidiacono and JayVaughn Pinkston led Villanova with 13 points apiece. Darrun Hilliard and Mouphtaou Yarou each had 11 points, while Bell added 10.

Wayne Blackshear scored 17 points for Louisville. Peyton Siva scored 15 points and handed out 11 assists.

Inside the box score
Villanova, which leads the Big East in turnovers with 16.3 per game, gave the ball away 19 times. Louisville came into Tuesday forcing the second-most turnovers per game in the nation at 19.7 a game.

Villanova shot 22 of 48 (45.8 percent) from the field and 7 of 15 from three-point range.

Louisville was a dismal 12 of 24 from the free-throw line.

Louisville's Russ Smith -- the Big Easts third-leading scorer with 19.3 points per game -- scored just eight points on 2-of-13 shooting.

When was the last time
Tuesday might marked the 18th meeting between the two schools. The Wildcats win tied the series at nine apiece.

Villanova is now 4-1 against Louisville in games played at the Wells Fargo Center.

Scouts honor
Scouts from several NBA teams were in attendance for the Big East battle, including Sixers director of player personnel Courtney Witte and Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King.

Whats next?
Villanovas run against stiff competition continues on Saturday when the Wildcats face No. 3 Syracuse back at the Wells Fargo Center at 11 a.m..

The Wildcats were handed a 72-61 defeat by the Orange at the Carrier Dome back on Jan. 12 to snap their seven-game win streak.

E-mail Matt Haughton at mhaughton@comcastsportsnet.com.

Villanova stays put at No. 2 for the 3rd straight week

Villanova stays put at No. 2 for the 3rd straight week

Villanova stayed put in the national rankings this week.

The defending champion Wildcats remained the No. 2 overall team in the Associated Press top-25 poll behind 24-0 Gonzaga. The Bulldogs received 59 first-place votes while Villanova received five votes. Kansas, which came in at No. 3, received the other No. 1 vote.

The Wildcats stayed where they were in the rankings after holding their own with two comfortable road wins, in large part thanks to sophomore point guard Jalen Brunson. Brunson was the big man on campus this week, beginning with a team-high 18 points in a 75-62 win at DePaul on Monday. He followed it up with his first career double-double as he put together a 22-point, 10-assist effort in a blowout win over Seton Hall in Newark on Saturday.

The win over the Pirates meant the Wildcats clinched a share of the Big East regular-season title for the fourth straight year. One win in their last three regular season games or one loss each by Butler and Creighton would hand Villanova sole possession of the Big East crown. 

Therefore, it's only fitting that the Wildcats' next two games are against none other than Butler and Creighton. Butler handed Villanova its first loss of the season back on Jan. 4 at Hinkle Fieldhouse, but the No. 22 Bulldogs have to travel to Philadelphia for the rematch on Wednesday. The No. 23 Blue Jays then head to the Pavillion for a Saturday afternoon duel. The Wildcats beat Creighton, 80-70, on New Year's Eve in Omaha.

At this point last season, Villanova had four losses (two in conference) and had just a one-game lead in the Big East. This year, they have much more room for comfort, albeit with a tough week with two ranked opponents ahead of them. 

Behind the top three, which remained static this week, the Pac 12 had three teams ranked 4-6 – Arizona, UCLA and Oregon – in the poll this week. The ACC had six teams in the top 25, including No. 7 Louisville, No. 8 North Carolina and No. 10 Duke. Baylor, which lost to Kansas on Saturday, fell from No. 4 to No. 9. 

Temple's youth shows again as lead slips away late in loss to UConn

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Temple's youth shows again as lead slips away late in loss to UConn

BOX SCORE

Temple’s Sunday tilt with UConn at the Liacouras Center was the embodiment of a young team trying to find its way.

The Owls had a double-digit lead against one of the hottest teams in the nation, thanks in part to their young guys producing in pivotal moments in the game.

However, the inability to finish cost Temple again, as the Owls allowed Jalen Adams to convert a reverse layup with 2.9 seconds remaining in a 64-63 loss to the Huskies (see Instant Replay).

“It’s hard,” Temple Head Coach Fran Dunphy said after the loss. “We have two of these now. We have Tulsa (70-68 on Jan. 14) and Connecticut at the buzzer at home. There’s not a lot to say.

“If we all make one better decision, including me, whether it’s a defensive set, a substitution or whatever. They hold onto the ball, they get a rebound, they make a shot, whatever it happens to be. We all make one better decision and we’re coming away with two great wins in Tulsa and UConn and not sitting here after two tough losses.”

After UConn hit a three to tie the game at 60, Temple freshman Quinton Rose made a huge three-pointer of his own to put the Owls back up 63-60 with 2:32 left in the game.

With Temple (14-14, 5-10 AAC) still clinging to a three-point lead, sophomore Shizz Alston, Jr. came up with a huge offensive rebound, only to turn it over with 1:08 left on the clock. Adams came up with the steal and raced up the court, but was fouled by Rose while attempting a dunk.

Following Adams’ two makes at the free-throw line, Temple’s lead was trimmed to just 63-62. On the ensuing possession, senior Daniel Dingle was fouled by UConn guard Rodney Purvis.

Dingle missed the front end of a one-and-one set at the line, which set the stage for Adams’ acrobatic shot to give the Huskies (14-12, 9-5 AAC) their seventh win in the last eight games.

“We knew they were going to come off that high ball screen with Adams,” Dunphy said. “We needed to sit down and keep him in front of us. One guy could have helped a little bit more than he did. It would have been a drive and kick for an open jumper, but it would have been better than [a layup]. The other guy just needs to sit down on that play and keep Adams in front of him, but we knew that ball screen was coming.”

“I honestly thought the ball was going to Purvis because he made the last three shots, so I did my best to deny him,” Dingle said. “[Adams] did a fantastic move.”

Things had been going Temple’s way for a majority of the night. The Owls led for the vast majority of game time thanks in part to 5 of 9 shooting from three in the first half, which gave them a 35-29 halftime lead. The lead increased to 56-46 with 8:29 left in the contest.

Dingle’s all-around play and leadership helped push Temple ahead. Freshmen Damien Moore and Alani Moore II combined for 22 points on 9 of 10 shooting.

However, the Owls went cold late. Temple made only 2 of 12 three-point shots in the second half.

UConn's day went in the opposite direction as the Huskies shot a blistering 54.2 percent in the second half and 62.5 percent from downtown. Purvis poured in 13 of his game-high 18 after intermission.

“The younger guys are doing very well,” said Dingle, who finished with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists. “We’re going to learn how to win. They’re doing a great job. It just so happens that we let one get away again.”

The Owls have made close defeats a habit. Sunday marked their fifth loss this season by five points or less.

These type of losses are the reason why Temple is in the eighth spot in the American Athletic Conference. With three regular-season games left and the AAC conference tournament quickly approaching, this Temple team, which holds victories over No. 9 West Virginia and No. 17 Florida State, will need to start showing the same promise it had earlier in the season to keep alive any dreams of dancing in the NCAA Tournament.

“I definitely talk to the guys about having that sense of urgency,” Dingle said. “For me, time is running out, so that’s the sense of urgency I’ve got. We’ve got to get there as a whole. I say that in the huddle, ‘We’ve got to get there.’ I remember being a freshman to now I’m in my fifth year. Time is not waiting, so every game we’ve got to go out there and play like it’s our last.

“The sense of urgency I think is all right but it has to increase. In order for us to get an opportunity to play in the NCAA [Tournament] – that’s something I want to do and I know the team wants bad for us as a whole and definitely for the seniors. Coach talks about the sense of urgency has to pick up.”