Wayns: 'Now I get to brag back'
One fairly significant point almost got lost in the deluge of questions after Villanova's win.
Wayns: 'Now I get to brag back'
As you would expect, Jay Wright and his players faced a storm of questions after last night's 78-74 win over Temple at the Pavilion.
But one fairly significant point almost got lost in the deluge: the victory gave the Wildcats the Big 5 championship.
Almost the entire press conference passed before the subject was raised. Near the end, though, Maalik Wayns finally spoke about how it felt to win the City Series title for the year.
"It means a lot," the Philadelphia native said. "I grew up with a lot of those guys, I know those guys from high school, and last year they had the bragging rights for the whole year. Now I get to brag back to them."
Wayns certainly earned the right to boast, as he scored 21 points and dished out eight assists on the night. A big part of his scoring was a perfect 9-for-9 performance from the free throw line, including 8-for-8 in the second half.
Corey Stokes and Mouphtaou Yarou also had big games, with 24 and 14 points respectively. Stokes' shot 7-for-13 from the field, including 5-for-8 from three-point range, and 5-for-6 from the free throw line. Yarou shot 6-for-10 from the field and 2-for-3 from the free throw line.
As for Temple, Lavoy Allen scored a remarkably quiet 22 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Just as impressively, he played all 40 minutes of the game, as Micheal Eric was reduced to only 12 minutes on the floor because of foul trouble.
A lot of people in my live game chat were not pleased with Juan Fernandez's performance in the latter stages of the second half. He did not make a field goal in the final 12 minutes and 13 seconds of the game, in part because of some bad decisions with the ball.
Having said that, Owls fans might also want to look elsewhere in the box score. While Fernandez shot 6-for-12 from the field in the game, Scootie Randall shot 4-for-10 and Ramone Moore shot 5-for-18.
The stat that really stands out for me was that Temple as a team made only five of their 15 free three throws in the second half. That's a lot of points left on the table.
On the whole, though, the game lived up to the billing. According to Stats Inc., it was the first game between two AP-ranked City Six programs since the 1988 Villanova-Temple game at McGonigle Hall. Both teams showed why they have earned their prominence this season.
Here's one example: the offensive efficiency by both teams was outstanding, especially when you consider how rugged Big 5 games can be. Temple and Villanova both averaged over a point per possession in the game, with Villanova coming in at 1.134 and Temple coming in at 1.100. Those are great numbers.
Although there wasn't nearly the kind of atmosphere there would have been if the game had been played at the Palestra, there were plenty of fans of both schools in the house. It took the Villanova fans a while to get warmed up, as it often does, but there was a lively contingent of Temple students right in the middle of the Villanova student section.
That gave the national television audience at least a taste of what makes college basketball in the Philadelphia area so special.
When it was over, Villanova walked off the floor with its 21st Big 5 title in program history. The Wildcats have won the City Series seven times in this decade, including five times outright. Although the Big 5 isn't as tough as it used to be, the Wildcats got good tests from La Salle and Temple this season en route to reclaiming the crown.
You can listen to both teams' postgame press conferences in the audio player below. There's also a video below with game highlights and some analysis from me, Dick Jerardi of the Daily News and Keith Pompey of the Inquirer.