Villanova and La Salle reminded us how good they can be with record-setting routs of lesser opponents.
Temple scraped and clawed its way to a pair of wins by a combined two points.
But all three teams were perfect this week, remaining in decent shape to make the NCAA tournament.
Let’s take a closer look at those squads (and the other three teams in the city that had much tougher weeks) with this week’s City 6 awards and power rankings.
Player of the week
We should really start naming this the Khalif Wyatt award.
For the second straight week, the Temple senior was the best player in the city, adding two more 20-plus-point games to his already-sterling résumé.
In an 89-88 win over Charlotte on Wednesday, Wyatt poured in 25 points, to go along with four assists, two blocks and two steals.
He followed that up with 20 points, two assists and two steals in a 72-71 win over Dayton on Saturday.
Speaking of which ...
Game of the week
Trailing by 10 points with four-and-a-half minutes remaining, Temple appeared to be cooked.
But the Owls used a stunning 14-3 spurt capped by a big-time three-pointer from Wyatt (more on that below) to take a one-point lead over host Dayton in the final seconds.
From there, the score never budged – but things still got a little crazy.
Here’s the basic rundown for those who didn’t watch the game: Will Cummings forced a steal, Scootie Randall was fouled and missed two free throws with 1.6 seconds left, Anthony Lee was whistled for a deadball foul on Dayton’s Josh Benson and he missed two free throws, Jake O’Brien got the rebound and he missed both free throws, and somehow Dayton got the ball again with 1.3 seconds left.
But the Owls deflected the Flyers' inbounds pass and secured the win in one of the most bizarre endings of the season.
Play of the week
This wasn’t so much a “play” as it was an individual display of talent and grit.
Holding the ball at the top of the perimeter with the clock winding down and Temple trailing by two, Wyatt was heavily guarded by Dayton’s Vee Sanford.
That didn’t matter.
The senior guard simply pulled up and drained the game-winning three-pointer in what has to be one of the most clutch shots of the college basketball season.
Quote of the week
“He said he was sick and he wasn’t feeling well. And he played like it.” – Drexel coach Bruiser Flint on leading scorer Damion Lee being held scoreless in a home loss to lowly Old Dominion on Thursday.
Stat of the week
In Villanova’s 68-40 win over South Florida on Saturday, the 40 points the Bulls scored were the fewest Villanova has ever allowed in a conference game since joining the Big East in 1980.
Games to watch this week
It’s a huge (and saintly) week for La Salle, which hits the road Wednesday to face a St. Bonaventure team that has given Philly squads all kinds of trouble this year, before trying to stay perfect in the Big 5 with a Palestra showdown against St. Joe’s.
Villanova has two tough Big East road games, facing Cincinnati on Tuesday and UConn on Saturday.
In other intriguing matchups, St. Joe’s returns home to face Richmond on Wednesday, Penn tries to upset Harvard in Boston for the second straight year, and Temple takes on a very good UMass team on the road Saturday.
1. La Salle (16-6): How good are La Salle’s guards? In the Explorers’ 89-53 dismantling of Fordham on Saturday, Tyreek Duren, Sam Mills, Ramon Galloway and Tyrone Garland combined to score 73 points in just 96 minutes. And starters Duren, Mills and Galloway shot a whopping 16-for-19 (84 percent) from three-point range as La Salle matched a program record with 18 threes. They’ll need to keep their hot hands this week with two tough games.
2. Villanova (15-9): One reason why the Wildcats were able to steamroll DePaul on Tuesday and then South Florida for their first consecutive Big East wins by 20 or more points since 1999? Darrun Hilliard. The sophomore guard dropped in 17 points in both of those wins and has emerged as one of the team’s top scoring threats. It will be interesting to see if he can keep pouring in the points against a Cincinnati team that ranks 27th nationally in scoring defense.
3. Temple (16-7): While there were certainly problems on display, the Owls also showed a lot of toughness in their consecutive one-point wins. That’s going to bode well for them over the next month as they try to fight for their sixth straight NCAA tournament berth. Thursday’s home game against Duquesne is pretty much a must-win.
4. Saint Joseph’s (13-9): There’s certainly no shame in losing to Dayton and UMass on the road, as the Hawks did this week. But for a team that was picked to win the Atlantic 10 in the preseason and has so much talent in its starting lineup, it has to be hard to swallow. At 4-5 in the Atlantic 10, the Hawks are dangerously close to not even finishing in the top 12 in the conference and making the A-10 tourney. And at this point, all hopes of earning an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament are pretty much shot.
5. Drexel (10-14): Perhaps the only team more disappointing than St. Joe’s is the Dragons, who lost a home game Thursday to an Old Dominion squad that had won only two games overall and none in the conference to that point (and had just fired its coach two days earlier). Drexel responded with a convincing win over James Madison on Sunday but the Dragons’ 3-7 record at the DAC is still hard to fathom.
6. Penn (5-17): Coming into this past weekend’s Ivy League games, the Quakers already knew they’d be without the services of key junior starters Fran Dougherty (dislocated elbow) and Steve Rennard (plantar fascia tear). And then on top of that, freshman Darien Nelson-Henry, a rising star at center, was hobbled with a knee injury, sitting out during crunch time of a 69-58 loss to Yale on Friday and then missing the entire game at Brown the next night. The Quakers still managed to roll past the Bears by 23 points, but with three losses in the league and no conference tournament, it looks like their Ivy League title drought will continue.