We Should All Be Watching Temple and Villanova Basketball

January 2nd, 2015 by AmyMac | Filed under Basketball, College Sports, General.

big5

The 76ers haven’t been giving us much to celebrate lately, but if you’re looking to see some great basketball, Philadelphia has plenty.

The Ball Don’t Lie

Yesterday, Connecticut hosted Temple for both teams’ American Athletic Conference opener. The Owls pushed the reigning national champs into overtime, and thanks to some free throws, won 57-53.

Senior guard Jesse Morgan scored 17 points for the Owls, while junior guard Quenton DeCosey banked 11, including a couple of free throws in overtime that proved to be crucial. Soon after, though, DeCosey fouled UConn freshman Daniel Hamilton on a three-point attempt. Luckily for Fran Dunphy’s Owls squad, however, Hamilton missed all three foul shots. When asked after the game about the role that overtime free throws played, DeCosey stated, “I didn’t think I fouled him, but the ball don’t lie.”

While Temple’s offense didn’t produce much (the team made just 31.6% of their shots), defense gave up even less than their 61.5 average points.

The Owls, now 10-4, will host University of Central Florida on Sunday, January 4 at 12:00 pm. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.

All ‘Nova Does Is Win

Jay Wright’s No. 6 Villanova team, a contender for the Final Four if I’ve ever seen one, has now plowed its way to a 13-0 start this season. The Wildcats defeated their latest victims, Butler University, 67-55 yesterday. Top Villanova scorers Ryan Arcidiacono, a 6’3″ junior guard, and JayVaughn Pinkston, a 6’7″ redshirt senior forward, banked 28 of the Wildcats’ points. Arcidiacono’s sore wrist has hampered his scoring thus far this season, but the Langhorne native is back to hitting threes and making assists.

A win against Seton Hall this weekend could set a school record of 14-0. About the possibility of setting a Villanova basketball record, Wright said, “Anything we do to match bests in this program means the world to me.” (This is Wright’s fourteenth season with Villanova; his investment in and loyalty to the program and the young men within it are certainly worth noting. The win over Butler yesterday was #299 for Wright.)

Villanova continues to lead the Big East, and are heavily favorited to win their conference. Villanova will visit Seton Hall (11-2) on Saturday, January 3, at 12:00 noon; Fox Sports will carry the television broadcast.

Elsewhere in the Big Five

Saint Joseph’s University played Denver University on Monday night. Junior forward Isaiah Miles scored 24 points and sophomore forward DeAndre Bembry scored 20; howver, their attempts just weren’t enough. The Hawks lost 57-53, falling to a 6-5 record. Saint Joseph’s University will host George Washington University on Saturday, January 3, at 2:00 pm.

Just ahead of Saint Joe’s in the A-10 is LaSalle, with 8 wins and 5 losses. On Tuesday night, the  LaSalle Explorers hosted the Penn Quakers. LaSalle’s 84 points were a record high for the season; sophomore guard Jordan Price led his teammates with 18. Senior Steve Zack scored 17 points for LaSalle, and his 5 rebounds were a career high. UPenn, still sitting in the basement of the Ivy League this season, were simply outplayed. The highlight for the Quakers was junior Darien Nelson-Henry’s scoring 15 points. Pennsylvania now holds a 3-7 record and will play at Princeton University on Saturday, January 10 at 5:00 pm. LaSalle will visit George Mason this Saturday, January 3, at 7:00 pm.

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