PHILADELPHIA. Caliph Battle was lost in the crowd of distraught Temple students who filled the hall in honor of one of the most daring victories of the program in recent years.
Just one problem.
The smallest ticks stuck on the clock.
Hey, it’s been 10 years since the Owls defeated the mighty Villanova. What are a few more seconds?
“It felt like the party had just begun,” Battle said. “I mean they should have dropped the shot with 0.2 seconds on the clock. If you do this, I take my hat off to you. But we won.”
Damian Dunn fouled the drive with 1.1 seconds left and made both free throws as Temple beat No. 16 Villanova 68-64 on Friday night, sending the Owls fans into a court storming frenzy – twice! – in the Liakouras Center.
14 lead changes in the second half helped him turn into a Big Five classic. The only thing missing was Palestra.
“Temple was one of the biggest programs,” Battle said. “We’re just trying to get back to it. Take back our name. It was a big deal.”
Dunn converted the first free throw in a 65–64 lead and Villanova called a time-out to freeze the sophomore quarterback. Temple guards lined the yard in anticipation of the mayhem ahead – and Dunn delivered.
He hit the second, Temple’s Zach Hicks intercepted the pass, and hundreds of fans filled the court in an instant. The public address announcer ordered the fans to clear the area – “the game is not over yet!” – even when the scoreboard froze 0.0.
It turned out the foul was called on Villanova’s Eric Dixon and Hicks came to the free throw line with .2 on the clock, with hundreds of Temple students huddled for another basket, ready to run again.
Hicks did both, and Villanova called a final time-out. The Temple players high-fived the eager supporters and also tried to remain calm off the court. When the game finally ended, it was Temple Court Storm, Take 2!
Temple coach Aaron McKie earned his signature win in four seasons on the bench. The Owls have beaten a top 25 team for the first time since they led No. 16 Wichita State 65–52 on January 15, 2020.
“Players are happy to see that this is the college energy that these kids go to play college basketball for,” McKie said.
Dunn led the Owls (1-1) with 22 points while Battle had 21.
Caleb Daniels led Villanova 1-1 with 19 points and Dixon 18. Villanova averaged 26 three-point attempts per game last season but only made 2 of 7 against Temple. The Owls abandoned perimeter shots and forced the Wildcats to try paint passes, with mixed success.
“They’ve done a good job of taking away what we like,” Villanova coach Kyle Neptune said.
St. Joseph, Villanova, La Salle, Penn and Temple have been vying against each other for over 60 years in Philadelphia sportswear fabric. However, over the past decade, the Big Five has lost its luster as the Wildcats have grown into a national force and the other four teams have been unable to keep up.
The pandemic has wiped out annual matches in each of the last two seasons, and this was the first meeting since Villanova’s victory on February 16, 2020. The Owls have not won a series since December 5, 2012, when Fran Dunphy was still the coach. Villanova won seven in a row in the series, averaging 18 points.
The Owls entered the court, flushed with disappointment.
Battle, healthy after missing almost all of last season with a broken leg, scored 3 and then converted a four-point game to take a 24-11 lead. Temple fans exploded.
The Wildcats were eliminated in Neptune’s second game as he replaced former Hall of Famer Jay Wright. Villanova closed 11-3 and trailed 34-29.
The Wildcats played without the expected starting lineup of Justin Moore (out indefinitely, torn Achilles) and Big East Preseason Freshman of the Year Cam Whitmore (right thumb).
None of this mattered as fans ignored PA’s pleas and danced and took selfies with Hooter after the final signal.
Villanova returns home on Monday to play Delaware State.
Temple hosts Vanderbilt on Wednesday.
EUGENE, Oregon. DJ Davis scored 24 points on six 3-pointers as UC Irvine stunned No. 21 Oregon State 69-56 on Friday night.
Dawson Baker scored 11 points for UC Irvine (2-0), which finished fourth in the Big West conference this season. The Anteaters hit 12 of 28 3-pointers.
“Give credit to the guys in our locker room, they believed they could come in and compete and it’s hard to keep generating but we have a winning tradition,” said UC Irvine coach Russell Turner. “They’ve had a few guys out and it’s not easy to play against us at the start of the year, I know that. Give them credit for taking this game, it was very important for us to get the opportunity to come here and play. It was a hell of an opportunity for us to play against a team of their level. We don’t take it for granted.”
The Ducks led N’Fali Dante with 20 points and Nate Beetle added 10. Oregon shot 32.7% from the field, including 4 of 21 from three-pointers.
“We were losing in every aspect of the game,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “The fuss, the rigidity, a number of our practices were reminiscent of this, and I was afraid that at some point it might happen. They were the aggressor from the very beginning.”
It was UC Irvine’s first victory over a ranked opponent since defeating No. 18 Kansas State 70–64 in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. The last time the Anteaters beat a ranked team in the regular season was in 2003, when they were No. 20 at Stanford.
“It certainly makes sense to beat a program of this quality and players of this quality in an arena where they have such an incredible record in non-conference games,” Turner said. “It’s special for us and I’m grateful.”
Oregon played without transfer guards Brennan Rigsby and Jermaine Quisnard, who were out indefinitely with injuries. This coincided with the Ducks’ biggest non-conference home game loss margin since a 67–54 loss to the Virginia on December 18, 2011.
“Bad mental effort,” Altman said. “We didn’t compete. I wish I could say something positive, but very disappointed. The guys are disappointed. I am disappointed. Got hit from the start.”
UC Irvine extended a 35–22 lead at halftime and extended the lead when Bent Leichten scored early in the second half and Devin Tillis added a 3-pointer to take the lead to 40–22.
Dante hit a free throw to cut the score to 42-26 with 18:03 left in the game, but the Ducks were unable to get close for the remainder of the game.
UC Irvine quickly took a 12–4 lead before Oregon took an 18–17 lead thanks to two free throws from Kel’el Ware with 6:11 left in the first half.
The Anteaters closed the half 18-5 to take a 35-22 lead in the half.
THE BIG PICTURE:
UC Irvine: The Anteaters improved to 2-0, with a pair of West Coast Conference teams ahead of Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine before hosting Life Pacific. It is unlikely that another ranking contender will appear on the UC Irvine schedule this year.
Oregon: The Ducks opened the season with a win over Florida A&M and are likely to start 3-0 with expected wins over UC Irvine and Montana State before the schedule gets tighter. Oregon’s non-conference schedule is loaded in the middle with a home game against third-placed Houston on Sunday, followed by a trip to the Phil Knight Invitational where they could face No. 1 in North Carolina, No. 16 in Villanova or No. 20 in Alabama. After that, Oregon starts the Pac-12 game against Washington State and No. 8 UCLA, and then completes non-conference games against four non-power conference programs.
UC Irvine: The Anteaters host Loyola Marymount on Tuesday.
Oregon: The Ducks are staying home to face the state of Montana on Tuesday.
COLLEGE PARK, Maryland. Aliya Boston was solid as usual, and she’s just one of the number one centers from South Carolina who can send waves of opposition.
“We’re taking the bus test,” coach Don Staley said. “We doing this”.
As impressive as the Gamecocks look when they land in the arena, they become even more of a challenge once they enter the stage. Boston had 16 points and 13 rebounds, with Zia Cook adding 18 points to lift the defending national champions to an 81-56 victory over No. 17 Maryland on Friday night.
Shortly after the Indiana Fever won the WNBA Draft Lottery and the 6-foot-5 Boston was set to be the first pick, the South Carolina star led her team to a fairly routine win in its first real challenge of the season. The top-rated Gamecocks held back a tough Maryland team that was playing without their potential lottery pick. Diamond Miller is out of action with a right knee injury.
Abby Meyers scored 21 points to lead Maryland 1-1, but aside from her ability to score from mid-range and from behind the arc, the undersized Turtles had a tough time attacking. Perhaps no statistic described this game better than the Gamecocks’ 11-0 lead on blocks. South Carolina also had a 40-20 lead in the paint and outpaced Maryland 55-32.
“We will get better in this game,” Meyers said. “It’s November now. We have a long season ahead of us and it’s a great experience for all of us.”
South Carolina played their first of four consecutive road games, and this win makes it all but certain that the Nov. 20 clash at Stanford will be a 1-on-2.
Maryland packed their defense in paint to deal with Boston, and the Turps were down just six by halftime, 32-26. The difference was still clear in the third before South Carolina (2-0) went on to go 11-1 to take a 56-39 lead.
“I saw a lot of positive things,” said Maryland coach Brenda Frese. “I think our kids did a great job with the game plan. You just saw, in the third quarter, he eluded us, obviously because of the depth they had.”
Camilla Cardoso, the Gamecocks 6-7 reserve, hit a couple of goals during that run, pinned around Cook’s 3-pointer. Cardoso finished with 13 points and a height of 6 feet 4…