PHILADELPHIA -- James Bell scored 19 points to lead No. 9 Villanova to a 90-74 win over Temple on Saturday.
The win earned Villanova (19-2) a perfect 4-0 record in Big 5 play and its 22nd Big 5 championship in program history.
Temple (6-14), meanwhile, missed out on a share of the city title and an opportunity to upset a Top-10 team for the sixth consecutive season. The Owls have 11 of their last 13 games overall, dating back to Dec. 7.
The Wildcats took a five-point lead at the half and stretched it to as much as 24, at 64-40, with 10:17 to play. They outscored the Owls 28-9 in the first 10 minutes of the second half. While Bell led the way, nine different Wildcats scored at least four points. JayVaughn Pinkston (13), Darrun Hilliard (12), Daniel Ochefu (11) and Dylan Ennis (10) finished in double figures.
Temple's chances at a comeback took a blow with 11:22 remaining when its leading scorer to that point, junior guard Will Cummings, left the floor and headed into the locker room with a lacerated lip, causing him to miss the next six minutes of play. He finished with 24 points.
Cummings did return to finish with 24 points, but he didn't get much help. Temple big man Anthony Lee, who nearly had a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds in the first half, fouled out with 6:06 remaining to finish with only 12 and 10 for the game, and the Owls' two best shooters, Dalton Pepper and Quenton DeCosey combined to 9 for 31 from the field.
Villanova's lead was as large as 12 in the first half but it slipped away when the 'Cats went 6:35 without a field goal and gave up a 12-0 run to Temple. Ryan Arcidiacono closed the opening 20 minutes with back-to-back threes to give the Wildcats a 36-32 lead at the break. Despite shooting 10 for 36 from the floor and 1 of 8 from three before heading into the locker room, Temple stayed in the game by outscoring Villanova 9-0 on fastbreak points and 7-0 on points off turnovers.
Before the game on Saturday, Temple unveiled two statues at the Liacouras Center honouring its two Hall of Fame coaches, Harry Litwack and John Chaney. Litwack coached the Owls from 1952-1973, complied a 373-193 record, led the program to its only Final Four appearance and an NIT Championship. He was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1976. Chaney took over in 1982, compiled a 516-253 record, and took his team to 17 NCAA tournaments and five Elite Eights. He was inducted into the Hall in 2001.