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SPORTS
March 25, 2015 | BY DICK JERARDI, Daily News Staff Writer jerardd@phillynews.com
DARRUN HILLIARD had the second-best scoring game of his Villanova career in his final game. In fact, if the game had gone maybe another minute, he might have a found a way to will his team past North Carolina State on Saturday. He finished with 27 points, including nine in the final 90 seconds. He just ran out of time. Hilliard had a wonderful season, averaging 14.3 points while making 79 threes and shooting almost 39 percent from the arc. He had the game-winner at Butler on Feb. 14, when he scored a career-best 31 points.
SPORTS
March 24, 2015 | BY MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer kernm@phillynews.com
PITTSBURGH - This wasn't the way it was supposed to end. Not again. And there isn't any good way to explain it. Villanova already had set a program record by winning 33 games. Including its last 16, another program best. But the top-seeded Wildcats were beaten Saturday night at the Consol Energy Center by a North Carolina State team that had lost 13 times, 71-68, in the round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament's East Regional. A Wolfpack team that had won at Louisville and North Carolina and beaten Duke at home.
SPORTS
March 24, 2015 | BY TOM MAHON, Daily News Staff Writer mahont@phillynews.com
ON SATURDAY afternoon, she was just another member of the Villanova pep band. By Saturday night, she was famous. Google "Piccolo Girl" and up pops the now-familar image of Roxanne Chalifoux playing her small flute with tears streaming down her face immediately following Villanova's upset loss to North Carolina State. While the players and coaches exchanged postgame handshakes the cameras zeroed in on Chalifoux, who was wearing a Villanova-blue ribbon in her long brown hair as she somehow managed to play and cry at the same time.
SPORTS
March 24, 2015 | By Dick Jerardi, Daily News Staff Writer
PITTSBURGH - The game never felt right from the start. Villanova was getting shots near the basket, the shots North Carolina State essentially was conceding, so concerned were they with the three-point line. If the Wildcats had not missed so many of those early, easy shots, they would have been playing with a working margin and their body language would not have given away their predicament. Instead, they started rushing shots against a defense that could have been moved around with the extra pass that had been this 'Nova team's signature all season.
SPORTS
March 24, 2015 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
PITTSBURGH - Jay Wright stood outside the locker room, away from where his Villanova players were trying to comprehend what just happened on the night when they were supposed to advance to the Wildcats' first NCAA Sweet 16 since their Final Four run in 2009. After the top-seeded Wildcats were unceremoniously bounced from the NCAA East Regional by No. 8 seed North Carolina State at the Consol Energy Center, the coach talked of how his team doesn't fear failure and how his players must own the disappointment of getting knocked out after a record 33-3 season.
SPORTS
March 24, 2015 | By Mike Sielski, Inquirer Columnist
PITTSBURGH - The scene in the losing locker room after an NCAA tournament game is always the same, and this is how it was Saturday night in the Consol Energy Center: Each player on the Villanova roster, seated and slumped, each one's face blank, each one's body folded into a wooden cubicle as if they were all dolls stuffed and stacked on a child's closet shelf. The silence in the room is always the most cutting thing, because for some of these kids - and they are still kids, despite the pomp and the attention and the billions of dollars made on their backs - college basketball is over for them.
SPORTS
March 23, 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.
SPORTS
March 23, 2015 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Columnist
PITTSBURGH - Abdul-Malik Abu just kept jumping. This kid from Boston may still be jumping. We can confirm Villanova had five players on the Consol Energy Center court at the time, but that basketball coming off the rim was glued to Abu's hands first because they were highest and closest. Both of Villanova's starting big men were on the floor, lower to the ground. That's the play that should stick to the torture column of 'Nova's NCAA history even though it only resulted in one point after a free throw.
SPORTS
March 23, 2015
PITTSBURGH - North Carolina State is exactly the kind of opponent No. 1 seeds get in their second NCAA Tournament game - good enough to overwhelm Duke 2 months ago, 87-75, and bad enough to lose at Boston College, 79-63, on Feb. 28, talented enough to win at Louisville and North Carolina, inconsistent enough to lose to Wofford and Wake Forest. The Wolfpack is more athletic than any team Villanova has played all season. It has two shooters who have combined to make 163 threes.
SPORTS
March 23, 2015 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
Villanova hasn't made it to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament since its Final Four run in 2009. Here are their last five tournament peformances. Season   Record   Seed   Exit    '09-10   25-8   2   vs. (10) St. Mary's, 3d round    '10-11   21-12   9   vs. (8) George Mason, 2d round '12-13   20-14   9   vs. (8) N. Carolina, 2d round    '13-14   29-5   2   vs. (7) Connecticut, 3d round    '14-15   33-3   1   vs.
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