It may only be November, but it is never too early for teams to get resume-building wins. After being upset in their first game of the season by Wagner, a lot was on the line for Temple basketball when the Villanova Wildcats came to town.
In a tied game with just one second left, Damian Dunn was fouled when driving to the hoop. He sank both free throws to give Temple a two-point lead as the crowd inside the Liacouras Center went ballistic. After Villanova turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds play, Temple knocked down two more free throws to seal the victory. With the win, Temple is not only back on track, but is sending a signal to the rest of the AAC that they can go toe to toe with anyone.
Temple Upsets Villanova on Friday
Owls Win Turnover Battle
One of the many reasons why Temple lost to Wagner was because of turnovers. While they only turned the ball over 13 times, Wagner won the battle by turning the ball over just eight times. Against Villanova, Temple basketball took care of the rock and it paid off. Villanova had 13 turnovers to Temple's seven and it's safe to say that a margin like that can make all the difference when games come down to the wire.
The defense as a whole wasn't perfect from Temple, but it was good enough. Any team that can win the turnover battle by a decent margin usually needs just one other thing to fall their way to secure the win. The turnovers combined with Villanova shooting just 28.6% from three was just enough for the Owls to squeak by and get their first win of the season.
Damian Dunn and Khalif Battle Go Nuclear
It was well-documented coming into the season that Temple basketball has a depth issue. That was one of the big reasons why few give this team a real shot to contend in the AAC this year. With that in mind, if Damian Dunn and Khalif Battle play as they did on Friday night, Temple can beat almost anyone in college basketball.
Dunn and Battle combined to score 43 points on 48% shooting from the field and 38% from deep. The duo didn't do much else that showed up in the box score. However, the threat of their scoring ability gave their teammates a softer defense and granted them more open looks. It's tough to see this kind of production being sustainable this season, but these two are only Sophomores.
If Temple basketball can get some more talent around these two guys, the sky is the limit for the next two seasons.