Dec. 4, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova Wildcats return to the Pavilion on Wednesday night to host a Philadelphia Big Five City Series contest against Temple. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN2 at 9:00 p.m. and can be heard on the Villanova/IMG Network on Sportsradio 610 WIP in Philadelphia. The Wildcats broadcast, featuring Ryan Fannon and Whitey Rigsby, can also be found on Sirius 132 and XM 191.
Villanova returns home for the first time in 15 days on the heels of Saturday's 62-52 victory at Vanderbilt. The Wildcats are 4-3 overall, 0-1 in the Big Five while Temple has won all five of its 2012-13 regular season games as it prepares to play its first contest in the City Series.
"This is going to be a great test for us," states Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "Coming off a road win against Vandy, this is the kind of test you want. You'd rather not come into a game that wasn't that challenging. This is as challenging as it gets - it's perfect."
Temple picked up a 78-67 victory in last season's meeting at the Liacouras Center. Ramone Moore scored 32 points for the Owls while Maalik Wayns contributed 23 points for the Wildcats. The `Cats were limited to .407 shooting from the field and committed 17 turnovers. They were outscored 20-9 in points off of turnovers.
"We've got to take care of the ball," stated Wright. "We had 17 turnovers against Temple last year, which hurt us. We had 13 turnovers at Vanderbilt, which was better than we were against La Salle and Columbia, but we still have to tighten that up. Vandy didn't really pressure us and some of the turnovers we had in the first half were the kind that can hurt you."
The Wildcats have been energized of late by the play of forwards Mouphtaou Yarou and JayVaughn Pinkston. Yarou has averaged 18 ppg in his last two outings after a slow start at the offensive end of the court in 2012-13. Pinkston contributed 13 points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes in his second game coming off the bench. The native of Brooklyn, N.Y., was in the starting lineup for the season's first five games before giving way to senior Maurice Sutton at La Salle.
"We've wanted to get the ball inside (all along) but we're starting to get better at it," stated Wright. "At La Salle, the guards had a tough time getting the ball inside but Mouph and JayVaughn found each other. We did a better job of that at Vandy.
"Our guards know what we are supposed to do. They are learning how to do it in game situations, and they are getting better at it. I thought Tony (Chennault), Arch (Ryan Arcidiacono) and Darrun (Hilliard) did a real good job at Vanderbilt."
This battle begins a three-game stretch of contests against Big Five opponents. On Saturday, the `Cats head to the Palestra to meet Penn at 8:00 p.m. (NBC Sports Network) and then are back at the Pavilion on Tuesday evening, Dec. 11, to host Saint Joseph's at 7:00 p.m. (ESPNU).