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March 21, 2015 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
PITTSBURGH - Villanova has an opponent for Saturday's third-round NCAA East Regional game, and it's not the team that trailed for 19 minutes, 59.9 seconds in the second half. Sophomore forward BeeJay Anya hit an eight-foot hook shot in the lane with one-tenth of a second to play Thursday night to propel eighth seed North Carolina State to an unlikely 66-65 victory over Louisiana State in the second game of a doubleheader at the Consol Energy Center. The Wolfpack (21-13) trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half and by 62-48 with 9:15 to play.
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March 21, 2015 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
PITTSBURGH - Villanova didn't fall off the cliff on Thursday night. Some day, some year, there will be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament that misjudges the edge and tumbles against a No. 16 seed, but it wasn't the Wildcats this time, this year. Beyond that, nothing was determined during Villanova's 93-52 win over an outmatched Lafayette team that couldn't solve its problems at either end of the floor. The NCAA run might have started Thursday for Villanova, but there was no danger of its ending.
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March 21, 2015 | By Mike Sielski, Inquirer Columnist
PITTSBURGH - Josh Hart was the Big East's sixth man of the year and its postseason tournament's most outstanding player, yet it was only recently that his Villanova teammates stopped making fun of him. A sophomore guard, Hart has always thought of himself as a shooter. He has, said Villanova assistant coach Baker Dunleavy, "amazing confidence," even during his freshman season, when he made just 31 percent of his three-point attempts. It was that amazing confidence, and the Wildcats' opponents' total disregard for it, that led to all the teasing.
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March 21, 2015 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Columnist
PITTSBURGH - With all the problems Lafayette had to deal with, stone walls around the inside, that grab bag of Villanova shooters around the perimeter - another one appeared at the scorer's table, making it practically a pile-on. Villanova's eighth player to check in, a guy who played less than all the others in Thursday's first half of their NCAA East Regional opener, was the one who took care of things for good. One moment, Lafayette fans who had filled Section 111 of the Consol Energy Center almost as soon as the doors opened were looking at a best-case scenario, their Leopards practically sticking around.
SPORTS
March 21, 2015 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
PITTSBURGH - Jay Wright says he had good reason for concern going into top-seeded Villanova's matchup against No. 16 Lafayette in its opening game of the NCAA East Regional, even if a 16th seed never had defeated a No. 1 since the tournament went to 64 teams in 1985. Still, no matter how much apprehension he felt, Wright saw his Wildcats come out Thursday night and play as well as he hoped they would. They raced out to a 21-point lead in the first 14 minutes and rolled to a 93-52 victory over the Leopards at the Consol Energy Center.
SPORTS
March 21, 2015 | By Mike Sielski, Inquirer Columnist
PITTSBURGH - After his postgame news conference had ended Thursday night, Fran O'Hanlon slipped through a black curtain behind a dais and found himself face to face with two Villanova players - Darrun Hilliard and Daniel Ochefu - and Jay Wright. The three were sitting in a row, and one by one, O'Hanlon shook hands with each of them, finally giving Wright a firm grip and finishing with a nine-word admonishment. "You guys," he said, "had better get to the Final Four. " The day before, O'Hanlon had joked that he would enjoy every minute of this experience - his coaching Lafayette to its first NCAA tournament in 15 years, his coaching against his alma mater - until Thursday's game began.
SPORTS
March 20, 2015 | BY MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer kernm@phillynews.com
PITTSBURGH - So how many teams in the NCAA Tournament have any more to prove than 32-2 Villanova, which has already set a program record for victories? Maybe not within its locker room. Because the Wildcats have never measured themselves by how far they go at this time of the season, even though Jay Wright has had more than a few teams that acquitted themselves rather well. It's just that none has done so recently. So be it. The Wildcats have always taken the most pride in how they did against the rest of the Big East, be it the old-school version or the current one. Which certainly seems fair enough, even if bracketologists everywhere might not concur.
SPORTS
March 20, 2015
Line: Villanova by 22½. Hot Josh Hart was the best player on the court for Villanova in the Wildcats' three-game sweep to the Big East tournament championship. The 6-foot-5 sophomore sixth man shot 21 of 29 (72.4 percent) from the field and averaged 17.7 points while knocking down nine three-point baskets in 14 attempts (64.3 percent). Lafayette point guard Nick Lindner, a sophomore from Germantown Academy, averaged 23.7 points and deposited 61.5 percent of his field-goal attempts and 60 percent from three (9 of 15)
SPORTS
March 20, 2015 | BY MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writerkernm@phillynews.com
PITTSBURGH - In 2010, after Villanova lost to St. Mary's in its second game in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 2 seed, Jay Wright talked about how, at a lot of places, that wouldn't be such a good thing. But by that point he'd certainly banked more than enough credibility chips on the Main Line: four trips to the second week in the previous five seasons, including one run to the Final Eight and a spot in the national semifinals. And all four times, the Wildcats had been eliminated by the eventual champion.
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