Dec. 30, 2006
Nardi helped the Wildcats (10-2) pull away in the tight game by making consecutive 3-pointers from each side of the arc after Sumpter rallied Villanova from a halftime deficit with seven straight points to open the second.
Dionte Christmas scored 22 points and Mark Tyndale had 16 for the Owls (6-5). Starting forward Dion Dacons landed awkwardly in the second half and was helped off the court with a sprained right ankle.
The Owls haven't won at the Pavilion since 1990, and they play at No. 5 Duke on Tuesday.
Christmas and Salisbery scored all but five of Temple's points in the first half to keep the game competitive, but the Wildcats hit all the big shots in the second to win their 10th straight Big 5 game.
Still playing with a brace on his twice surgically repaired left knee, Sumpter gave the Wildcats the lead for good with two free throws to open the second half. Looking as if he hadn't lost a step, Sumpter split the Temple defense with a nifty spin move on the baseline and dunked for a 33-30 lead. He added a nice pump fake, was fouled, and watched the ball bound around the rim until it dropped through the hoop, drawing a roar from the crowd. He sank the free throw.
The game was certainly testy at times, like so many of these rivalry games. Villanova's Dwayne Anderson smacked Dustin Salisbery in the face on a non-call to end the first half, leaving Temple's guard sprawled on the floor for a few moments while some brief, harsh words were exchanged.
After Sumpter's run put Villanova up, Dacons offered a stiff forearm to Dante Cunningham in the lane on a driving layup. A livid Cunningham swiped Dacons' arm away and sank the foul shot.
Nardi sank a 3-pointer from the right side, came back down and hit one from the left to make it 50-39. Nardi rarely dunks, but showed nice vertical leap on a big chest bump with guard Scottie Reynolds at center court during a timeout.
Villanova took a one-game lead in the all-time series against its Big 5 rivals from the city. But the number of Wildcats victories differs in the schools' record books. Villanova claims it has a 40-39 series edge dating to Jan. 8, 1921. Temple says the Wildcats are ahead 41-40, staring with a Villanova win in the 1914-15 season.