Temple-Villanova Preview (Dec 13, 2016)
PHILADELPHIA -- Villanova's senior class is on the verge of an incredible record.
Josh Hart, Darryl Reynolds and Kris Jenkins have never dropped a Big 5 game since joining the Wildcats and they'll have a chance to go undefeated when they host Temple Tuesday night at 7 p.m. EST at The Pavilion.
No. 1-ranked Villanova improved to 3-0 in the Big 5 this season with a hard-fought 89-79 win over La Salle last Tuesday at the Palestra. Then the Wildcats stayed perfect on the season overall (10-0) with a 74-66 victory over No. 23 Notre Dame on Saturday in Newark, N.J.
Villanova is also going for its 18th straight Big 5 victory.
"It's unbelievable to think about," Villanova head coach Jay Wright told the Philadelphia Daily News. "I don't want to think about it because it's monumental. It really is."
Hart is coming off a memorable game with a career-best 37 points to go along with 11 rebounds and four assists in the eight-point win over the Fighting Irish.
"I was just out there playing," Hart told reporters. "In a game like that we were battling, battling, battling, to the end. Fatigue wasn't a factor."
The Wildcats came back from an 11-point deficit in the inaugural Never Forget Tribute Classic honoring the families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
"That was just a great college basketball game," Wright told reporters. "We're really proud to be a part of the cause. It was a great atmosphere with what felt like a Villanova crowd. Notre Dame is so tough to play against. I think Mike (Brey) is one of the best coaches in the country. They're an underrated defensive team."
Temple elevated its record to 7-3 with a 74-65 victory over DePaul Saturday at the Hoophall Miami Invitational.
The Owls will enter Tuesday's game on the Main Line also at 3-0 in the Big 5, adding to the intrigue.
Temple led DePaul by as many as 25 points in the second half before holding on for the victory.
"I thought we made a couple of foolish mistakes on both ends, and a team is going to take advantage of that," Temple head coach Fran Dunphy told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "We got tight, they were playing loose, and as a result the lead got cut."
Obi Enechionyia and Shizz Alston Jr. scored 15 points each while Quinton Rose added 12 points. Enechionyia and Alston also had seven rebounds apiece.
Temple received a lift from Josh Brown as he had 11 points and five assists in his first start of the year. Brown was named Hoophall Miami Invitational Most Valuable Player.
And he also contributed a career-high seven steals, the most for a Temple player since Will Cummings at SMU on Feb. 19, 2015.
It was just the fourth game for Brown in his return from an Achilles tendon injury in the offseason.
"We'll see how he feels like tomorrow (Sunday), let's see how he feels in one day, and obviously Tuesday for the Villanova game," Dunphy told the Inquirer about Brown's status. "He deserves that opportunity to be in the lineup. Now I just have got to manage his minutes as best as possible."