PHILADELPHIA — Damian Dunn drew a foul on a driving layup with 1.1 seconds left and made both free throws as Temple beat No. 16 Villanova 68-64 on Friday night, sending the Owls’ fans into a court-storming frenzy — twice! — at Liacouras Center.
The 14 lead changes in the second half helped this one shape up into a Big 5 classic. All that was missing was the Palestra.
Dunn sank the first free throw for a 65-64 lead and Villanova called timeout to ice the sophomore guard. Temple security guards lined the court in anticipation of the mayhem ahead — and Dunn delivered.
He hit the second one, Temple’s Zach Hicks intercepted the in-bound pass and hundreds of fans instantly swarmed the court. The public address announcer ordered fans to clear the court — “the game is not over!” — even as 0.0 remained frozen on the scoreboard.
Turned out, a foul was called on Villanova’s Eric Dixon and Hicks went to the free-throw line with 0.2 on the clock and a hundreds of Temple students crammed behind the other basket.
Hicks made both and Villanova called one final timeout. Temple players high-fived impatient fans and also tried to keep the peace safely contained off the court. The game finally ended and it was Temple Court Storm, Take 2!
Only minutes apart, the sequel felt just as good as the original.
Temple coach Aaron McKie, Allen Iverson’s old running mate on the 2001 76ers, earned his signature win in his four seasons on the bench.
Dunn led the Owls (1-1) with 22 points and Khalif Battle had 21.
Caleb Daniels led Villanova (1-1) with 19 points and Dixon had 18.
Saint Joseph’s, Villanova, La Salle, Penn and Temple had its rivalry games intertwined in the fabric of Philadelphia sports for more than 60 years. The Big 5, though, lost its shine over the last decade as the Wildcats turned into a national power and the other four teams could not keep pace. Most of the four could barely keep up with the top teams in their conferences.
The Owls have made only two NCAA tournaments since 2013, none since 2019 and a season-opening OT loss Monday against Wagner put them on the ropes for a potential at-large bid in the first week.
The pandemic wiped out the annual matchup each of the last two seasons and this was the first game between the two teams since a Villanova win on Feb. 16, 2020. The Owls hadn’t won in the series since Dec. 5, 2012, when Fran Dunphy was still the coach. Entering Friday, Temple had lost its last seven meetings vs. Villanova, with an average margin of defeat of 18.0 PPG.
The Owls hit the court fired-up for the upset.
Battle, healthy after missing nearly all of last season with a broken foot, hit a 3 and then converted a four-point play for a 24-11 lead. Temple fans — lean seasons left plenty of empty seats at the Liacouras Center — erupted.
The Wildcats were were off their game in coach Kyle Neptune’s second game since he replaced retired Hall of Famer Jay Wright. Villanova made only 1 of 5 3-pointers in the half but closed on an 11-3 run and trailed 34-29.
Friday’s result tied the earliest into a season that Villanova has lost to an unranked opponent as a ranked team. The Wildcats suffered this same fate twice before, in the second game of the 1994-95 season (lost 85-64 vs. Minnesota) and in game 2 of the 1988-89 season (lost 102-81 vs. Southern Illinois).
The Wildcats played without expected starters Justin Moore (out indefinitely, torn Achilles) and preseason Big East freshman of the year Cam Whitmore (right thumb).
None of that mattered as fans ignored the PA pleas and danced and snapped selfies with Hooter after the final horn.
ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Temple knocks off No. 16 Villanova for first time since 2012
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