After a solid performance, although in a loss, on Tuesday night against Missouri, Villanova looked to build some momentum with conference play on the horizon. The momentum was short lived though, as the Temple Owls handed Villanova their 4th loss of the season with a 78-67 win at the Liacouras Center.
This time around, it wasn't Juan Fernandez lighting up the Wildcats, rather guard Ramone Moore decided to go off with 32 points, including 14 made free throws. Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson dominated the boards for Temple, as he grabbed 14 rebounds and chipped in 11 points. For the visitors, Maalik Wayns led the way with 23 points on 7-17 shooting, while Mouphtaou Yarou contributed 14 points.
More after the jump...
The first half of the game turned into a seesaw affair; the Cats led by as many as 5, while Temple held an 8 point edge midway through, but it was mostly a 1 or 2 possession for the majority of the opening stanza. At the half Villanova, owned a 36-35 advantage.
Coming out of the break, the game continued to go back and forth, but the Owls started to wear down the Cats with about seven minutes left. Villanova committed numerous turnovers throughout the game, but the ones late really cost them. In addition, Nova let Temple grab crucial offensive rebounds in crunch time. With the Owls holding a 10 point lead with five minutes remaining, Villanova tried to cut into the lead, but Temple hit their free throws to seal the Big 5 win.
Not sure how many times I have to say it, but Dominic Cheek is not performing at a level that is necessary for the Cats to win. Sure, he pitched in 10 points, but this was on 3-10 shooting, including 2-8 from downtown. His shot selection is just horrendous; fade-away threes, shots off of 1 pass, etc. It's a recurring theme, and frankly, I think most Nova fans are sick of it. Don't get me wrong, Cheek was not the reason they lost, but he is not helping the cause. Unfortunately, the freshmen struggled in tonight's game, so Yarou and Wayns had no supporting cast in a game that the Cats really did have a good chance to win.