Instant Replay: Villanova 75, Lafayette 59


Instant Replay: Villanova 75, Lafayette 59


VILLANOVA, Pa. -- For the first six minutes, James Bell kept pace with Lafayette on his own.

Bell scored Villanova’s first 13 points, including an electrifying one-handed throw-down off of an alley-oop from Darrun Hilliard in the Wildcats' 75-59 victory over the Leopards.

Bell would score only 11 points the rest of the game after that initial spurt on a night when Villanova had difficulty making much of anything. Villanova (1-0) finished the game shooting just 38.9 percent from the field, going 5 for 30 from three in the process.

After hanging tight with the Wildcats in the first half, the Leopards (0-1) jumped out to a six-point lead on the back of three shots from downtown midway through the second half.

The Wildcats ultimately relied on most of its major contributors -- Bell, Hilliard and JayVaughn Pinkston -- to lead a comeback in the second half.

Ryan Arcidiacono didn’t make a basket until 1:49 remaining in the contest, when he finished a tough drive despite getting fouled.

Turning point
With the contest tied at 47, the Wildcats proceeded to score 11 of the next 15 points to open up their largest lead of the game, one they would keep for good.

The run featured threes from Bell and Hilliard, while Pinkston worked hard to get to the hole.

Bell kept the Wildcats in it early, and his three-pointer with less than 10 minutes to go broke that 47-47 tie.

Despite not shooting particularly well, Bell finished the game with 24 points, going 7 for 16 from the field.

Key stat
While the Wildcats worked their way back for the win, Villanova may not have had the opportunity to do so had Lafayette not coughed up the ball 16 times on the night. By comparison, Villanova turned the ball over only seven times.

Second half surge
Pinkston caught fire late, scoring 14 second-half points to lead Villanova back from its deficit. He finished the game with 22 points.

With the shots not falling from long range, Pinkston forced the issue inside, getting Lafayette to foul him more often than not. He sank 10 free throws in the win.

What’s next?
Villanova stays at home for a game against Mount St. Mary’s Tuesday at 7 p.m. The matchup will be the first between the teams since Nov. 27, 1998.

Penn State upsets No. 2 Ohio State, 24-21

Penn State upsets No. 2 Ohio State, 24-21


STATE COLLEGE – As his team slogged through back-to-back 7-6 seasons in his first two years as Penn State’s head coach, Langhorne native James Franklin heard time and again that he was in need of a signature victory.

Now he has one, even if he refuses to admit it.

Junior cornerback Grant Haley returned a blocked field goal 60 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 4:27 left as the Nittany Lions stunned second-ranked Ohio State 24-21 on Saturday night.

“That’s for you (media) guys, all that signature stuff,” Franklin said.

Not exactly.

“It’s just a game that put Penn State back on the map,” Haley said. “We needed that signature win, and we did it tonight.”

The fans stormed the field after the Lions, 5-2 after their third straight victory this season, beat a ranked team for the first time since 2013 (Wisconsin). It was also PSU’s first victory over a team ranked in the top five since 1999 (Arizona) and its first over a team slotted as high as No. 2 since 1990 (Notre Dame).

Ohio State (7-1) saw winning streaks of 20 straight road games and 17 straight Big Ten road games come to an end, despite building a 21-7 lead through three quarters.

The Lions whisked 90 yards in five plays to cut the gap to seven with 13:32 left in the game, with quarterback Trace McSorley running two yards for the TD.

Freshman linebacker Cam Brown then blocked Cameron Johnston’s punt to set up a 34-yard field goal by Tyler Davis with 9:33 remaining, making it 21-17.

Ohio State mounted a drive behind J.T. Barrett, their splendid quarterback, moving from its own 13 to the PSU 28. Barrett’s 34-yard connection with wide receiver Noah Brown was the big play.

But the Buckeyes stalled, and Tyler Durbin came on to attempt a 45-yard field goal. Penn State safety Marcus Allen made a leaping block, however, and Haley scooped up the bouncing ball and beat Durbin and Johnston, the holder, down the left sideline for the go-ahead score.

Ohio State’s final drive of the night ended with a pair of Penn State sacks, the last a combined effort by defensive linemen Kevin Givens and Evan Schwan with 1:02 left.

When the final gun sounded, several Penn State players sprinted toward the south end zone and launched themselves into the front row of the stands, Lambeau Leap-style, among the delirious students. And thousands of fans, all clad in white for PSU’s traditional White Out, flooded the field.

“This is for everybody,” Franklin said later. “This community’s been through so much in the last five years (a reference to the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal and its aftermath), and this is a big step in the right direction, in terms of healing. I said very, very early on that for us to get where we want to be, we need this entire community together, and a win like tonight – I know I’m biased – but I believe that football has the ability to bring a community together like nothing else.”

Moments later, he caught himself and said he “didn’t want to spend a lot of time talking about the big picture.”

Rather, he added, “I just want to enjoy tonight.”

Villanova cruises to 24-13 win over Albany

USA Today Images

Villanova cruises to 24-13 win over Albany

Aaron Forbes ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns to lead Villanova past Albany (NY) 24-13 on Saturday.

Forbes had 24 carries and punched in touchdowns from the 2 and 3, while the Villanova defense notched eight sacks and held Albany to just 161 total yards. Matt Gudzak also had a touchdown run for the Wildcats (6-2, 4-1 Colonial Athletic Association) and Gerard Smith had a 32-yard field goal to keep Villanova unbeaten on its home field this season.

Albany (4-3, 1-3) was held scoreless for the first three quarters, then got a 65-yard touchdown run from Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks early in the fourth. The Danes got their second TD with 2:15 left when Zach Bednarczyk's fumble was recovered by teammate Michael Nicastro, who then ran 40 yards.

Ibitokun-Hanks finished with 141 yards on 21 carries.