(3) Villanova 75

(9-0, 3-0 away)

Temple 53

(6-4, 4-1 home)

    4:00 PM ET, December 31, 2005

    Palestra, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    1 2 T
    #3VILL 37 3875
    TEM 25 2853

    Top Performers

    Villanova: K. Lowry 15 Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 7 Stl

    Temple: M. Collins 19 Pts, 3 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 Blk

    No. 3 Villanova beats Temple, remains undefeated

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- John Chaney scouted, schemed and rolled up his sleeves to his elbows trying to find a way to beat Villanova. Nothing the Temple coach devised worked for long, leaving him 40 minutes to figure out what most everyone else knew before tipoff.

    "We're not as good a team as Villanova," Chaney said. "No way."

    Well, the Hall of Fame coach shouldn't feel so bad -- so far no one has figured out how to beat the third-ranked Wildcats.

    Allan Ray scored 20 points, Mike Nardi had 17 and Kyle Lowry 15 to help No. 3 Villanova remain undefeated with a 75-53 victory over Temple on Saturday at the Palestra.

    "I don't want to make this complicated, but we have really good players," Wildcats coach Jay Wright said. "We have guards that can shoot and score and they can go rebound the ball."

    The Wildcats opened the season with nine straight wins for the first time since 1961-62 when they won their first 12. Villanova's perfect season gets a couple of serious challenges when it opens Big East play, starting Jan. 5 at No. 10 Louisville and Jan. 8 vs. No. 25 West Virginia.

    "Every time we've been tested, they've answered the question," Wright said.

    Ray, Lowry and Nardi more than made up for Randy Foye's worst game of the season. Foye came in averaging a team-high 21.8 points and had scored 25 or more three times in the last five games.

    While Foye fought to get nine points on 4-for-13 shooting, he was still involved by passing the ball around the perimeter and crashing the boards, finishing with 10 rebounds and nine assists.

    "If one of the guys is in foul trouble or is hurt, we have guys that can pick it up at any given moment," Nardi said. "We're just pretty deep and that gives us an advantage."

    It's that kind of play that makes Villanova so tough: When one guard slumps, three more are there to sink big baskets and start game-changing runs.

    "Villanova could easily be No. 1 in the country," Chaney said. "There's nobody that shoots the ball as those four players on the floor, not even Duke."

    Chaney can see how true his scouting report really is when the top-ranked Blue Devils play Temple on Feb. 25 at the Wachovia Center.

    The Owls -- who knocked off Villanova by a point last year at the Palestra -- were competitive most of the game before the Wildcats took control at the end. Twice in the second half the Owls pulled within 10 only to be turned back each time by a 3-pointer by Nardi.

    Nardi -- the often unnoticed star in the four-guard starting lineup -- hit another 3 to make it 58-41, Ray hit a jumper off a turnover and followed with a twisting, driving layup that put the game away.

    "The guy that surprised me was Nardi. He was shooting from 25 feet out," Chaney said.

    Mardy Collins led the Owls (6-4) with 19 points and Mark Tyndale added 14. The Owls shot only 24 percent in the second half.

    With a sellout crowd rocking the famed home of the Big 5, the Owls opened the game giving Villanova fits. For whatever reason, the Wildcats are rarely comfortable at the Palestra and get a tight game almost every time.

    For a while, it seemed like this would be another one of those games.

    Temple's famed matchup zone was as active and effective as it was all season in the first half. From forcing Ray into a trap and a timeout on Nova's first possession, to picking off a pass and poking the ball free on consecutive possessions, the Owls' sticky defense kept it close while the offense sputtered.

    When the Owls weren't fastbreaking off their steals, they tried slowing down their offense with little luck. While the physical, spirited defense forced the Wildcats into one of their worst shooting stretches of the season (6-for-17 to start), the Owls still found themselves down three late in the half.

    Lowry and Ray finally broke through, hitting consecutive 3-pointers to help the Wildcats take a 37-25 halftime lead.

    While the Owls only averaged 6.6 turnovers a game this year, they had eight in the first half and 15 overall. They forced 18 Villanova turnovers.

    "We have a chance to be pretty good," Wright said.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 75 53
    FG Made-Attempted 26-63 (.413) 17-58 (.293)
    3P Made-Attempted 9-26 (.346) 4-19 (.211)
    FT Made-Attempted 14-21 (.667) 15-27 (.556)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 23 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 22 1

    2005-06 Season

    » Dec 31, 2005 VILL 75, @TEM 53Recap