Dec. 7, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Villanova makes its only visit to the fabled Palestra in 2012-13 when the Wildcats (4-4 overall) meet Penn (2-6 overall) on Saturday night in Philadelphia. The game will be televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network at 8:00 p.m. with the radio broadcast heard locally on 610 WIP.
The Wildcats will look to bounce back from a disappointing second half that saw Temple erase Villanova's 36-32 halftime lead with an 18-2 surge. Villanova did not score its first field goal until junior Tony Chennault sank a 3-point goal from near the top of the key with 9:40 left on the clock.
"We started the second half with turnovers and missed shots," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "There were too many empty possessions and you can't do that against a good team like Temple."
After sinking 14-of-27 from the field in the first half, VU slumped to 7-of-20 after the break. The Wildcats weren't able to get to the free throw line as much as they had in previous contests either, shooting 20 free throws, a season low.
Villanova used a Friday practice session at the Palestra to focus on the Quakers and address its own areas where improvement is needed. Reducing turnovers - Villanova had a season-high 20 against Temple - is one of the areas which continues to be a teaching point, according to Wright.
"Temple does a really good job of defending personnel," Wright noted. "We prepared for it and I thought in the first half we did a really good job. For some reason in the second half we didn't (execute). We went inside and had turnovers and tough shots."
This will be the first contest in City Series play for the Quakers, who have had a week to prepare for this contest after a game last Saturday at Penn State. Juniors Fran Dougherty (17.1 ppg) and Miles Cartwright (14.1 ppg) set the scoring pace for the Quakers.
The Wildcats bring a nine-game winning streak in the series into this matchup. Penn's last victory over Villanova was a 72-58 triumph in the building that is now known as the Wells Fargo Center in December of 2002.
Only three current `Cats have played a college game at the Palestra - seniors Maurice Sutton, Mouphtaou Yarou and junior James Bell. The rest of the Wildcats will experience the venue for the first time as collegians.
This is the third of four City Series games for Villanova. It closes out the Philadelphia Big Five portion of its schedule on Tuesday evening at the Pavilion when the Wildcats host Saint Joseph's (7:02 p.m./ESPNU).