La Salle, Villanova happy to share Big Dance

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La Salle, Villanova happy to share Big Dance

KANSAS CITY –- You know that old adage about rising water lifting all boats? Villanova coach Jay Wright figures it applies to La Salle’s win over Boise State Wednesday night.
 
A win for the Explorers was a win for everybody.

“We really believe if the Big 5 schools are doing well, kids in Philadelphia are going to stay home to play there, games are going to be important, Philadelphia basketball is going to be important,” Wright said Thursday at the Sprint Center, where both Villanova and La Salle will play on Friday.
 
So the better La Salle does, the better Villanova and Temple do, the better all of them do.
 
Although Villanova and La Salle are in different regions, they’re in the same building this week, 1,100 miles from home.
 
Wright and La Salle coach John Giannini exchanged texts Wednesday night and will see each other Friday, when their teams try to reach the Round of 32 a few hours apart.
 
At 3:10 p.m. Friday, No. 13 seed La Salle faces No. 4 Kansas State in a West Region second-round game, and at 7:20 p.m. No. 8 Villanova plays No. 9 North Carolina in a South Region second-round game.
 
“Someone mentioned that the state of Texas had zero NCAA teams, and the city of Philadelphia had three,” Giannini said. “I'm a Chicago native, but there's no person who appreciates the Big 5 more than I do. I think we should play them all in the Palestra. I think we should emphasize it. We have five Final Four teams in our history. No other city has more than two. It's a totally unique thing. No city has anything like what we have.”
 
It wasn’t just Wright. Drexel coach Bruiser Flint tweeted congratulations to La Salle after its first NCAA win in 23 years, and Temple coach Fran Dunphy, whose team arrived in Dayton in time for La Salle’s win, also made it a point to congratulate Giannini and the La Salle program.
 
“I’m not surprised those guys support us,” Giannini said in the La Salle locker room Thursday. “And I support them. The coaches are great guys, and they care about more than basketball.
 
“The coaches like each other. The players like each other. We respect each other. We're proud of Philadelphia basketball. No other city has what we have in college basketball.”
 
La Salle’s 80-71 win Wednesday night in a play-in game was the program’s first in the NCAA tournament since Lionel Simmons, Randy Woods and Doug Overton and company beat Clarence Weatherspoon and Southern Mississippi, 79-63, in Hartford in 1990.
 
In an odd quirk of scheduling, La Salle overlapped with Temple in Dayton and then with Villanova in Kansas City.
 
It’s almost as if Dunphy handed Giannini off to Wright.
 
“It's really cool to have La Salle here,” Wright said. “As you know, in Philadelphia, we take great pride in Philadelphia basketball. When we're playing each other, we want to beat each other bad. But anything else … we work together on Coaches vs. Cancer, we're friends throughout the year, and we like to see each other do well.
 
“They played great last night. They really looked good. They look like a team that can win some games in this tournament.”

Prosecutor says he doesn't believe Jerry Sandusky accuser's claim

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AP

Prosecutor says he doesn't believe Jerry Sandusky accuser's claim

BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- A former Pennsylvania prosecutor testified Tuesday he does not believe a man who reached a settlement with Penn State over a molestation claim is the same person seen by a witness being abused by Jerry Sandusky in a university football team shower.

Joe McGettigan, a former prosecutor who is now a lawyer in private practice, took the stand as the final witness during three days of testimony in Sandusky's bid for dismissal of charges or a new trial.

McGettigan said his opinion about the man who claims to be the person described as Victim 2 in court records is based on changes in the man's story, that he appears too old to be the boy in the shower and that he did not provide certain details to investigators until after the man who witnessed the attack had given his own story in open court.

Sandusky's grounds for appeal include a claim that McGettigan lied when he said during closing argument that Victim 2 was known "to God but not to us."

McGettigan said he did not believe the man's claim to be Victim 2 at the time of Sandusky's 2012 trial.

"I did not then and I do not now," McGettigan said.

Graduate assistant Mike McQueary has testified he saw Sandusky abusing a boy inside a team shower late on a Friday night in early 2001, and reported the matter to then-head coach Joe Paterno and other top administrators.

Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of abuse of 10 boys after eight of them testified against him -- but not Victim 2.

McGettigan said the man who settled with Penn State was born in 1987, so he would have been about 14 at the time, but McQueary described Victim 2 as being about 10. McGettigan said the man was unable to properly describe the location of the attack and drew a map of a locker room that was not accurate.

The man denied to police in September 2011 that any abuse occurred and gave the same statement to an investigator working for Sandusky's lawyers. But after McQueary testified in a related preliminary hearing, he hired a lawyer and changed his story, claiming to have been sexually abused. Neither the man nor Penn State has disclosed the precise nature of his claim against the university or said how much he was paid to settle it.

McGettigan said Sandusky, who attended all three days of the Post-Conviction Relief Act hearing, "could at any time have told any number of persons" the identity of Victim 2. "He declined to say so."

Another former state prosecutor, Jonelle Eshbach, testified that her office set up a sting after a March 2011 story in The Patriot-News of Harrisburg disclosed details of the grand jury investigation that led to Sandusky's arrest about seven months later.

She and her supervisor, Frank Fina, placed a fake notice within the prosecution agency's file about someone who had been subpoenaed and then watched to see if it would produce a story that would indicate a leak within the attorney general's office. She said no one took the bait.

Fina, the third person to testify Tuesday, said his doubts about the man's claim to be Victim 2 were based in part on early questions about when the McQueary incident occurred. At first, it was publicly reported to be 2002, which the man confirmed. Later it was determined to have been 2001.

"There was a possibility that (he) had conformed his testimony to Mr. McQueary's recollection of the date," Fina said.

Sandusky previously lost direct appeals to the state's Supreme and Superior courts. The current process, presided over by the trial judge, is under the Post-Conviction Relief Act and therefore limited to newly discovered evidence, constitutional violations and ineffective lawyering.

The judge did not say when he would rule but indicated there may be additional proceedings.

Jerry Sandusky's appeal focuses on Victim 2's conflicting statements

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AP

Jerry Sandusky's appeal focuses on Victim 2's conflicting statements

BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- A man who says he was the boy observed being sexually abused by Jerry Sandusky in a Penn State shower more than 15 years ago gave conflicting statements to authorities and was considered to lack credibility, investigators said during an appeal hearing Monday.

The man has settled with Penn State based on a claim that he is Victim 2 and was seen by graduate assistant Mike McQueary being attacked by Sandusky, then an assistant football coach, in 2001. The man gave differing statements to Sandusky's lawyers and to police investigators, according to testimony, and neither side called him to the stand during the 2012 trial.

The identity of Victim 2, and the man's claim to be Victim 2, figures into Sandusky's bid for a new trial or to have charges dismissed because of a reference during lead prosecutor Joe McGettigan's closing argument before a jury convicted Sandusky of 45 counts of abuse involving 10 victims.

McGettigan told jurors there were "others unknown to us, to others presently known to God but not to us." The appeals hearing is Sandusky's chance to prove his claim that McGettigan was referring to Victim 2 and so he knew that statement was false.

The man who claims to be Victim 2 contacted Sandusky's then-lawyer, Joe Amendola, soon after Sandusky was first charged in November 2011 and gave a statement saying he was in the shower that night but had not been abused. He had also made a similar denial of abuse to investigators in September 2011, testified Cpl. Joseph Leiter, a retired state police investigator.

But he subsequently hired attorney Andrew Shubin, who testified Monday on the second day of the hearing that he believes his client is Victim 2 and was raped by Sandusky, who was in court. He is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence.

Asked if he had any doubts, Shubin said he was not sure how to answer that. But he said the man is his client and he would not represent anyone he did not believe.

Shubin declined to answer when asked whether he ever tried to hide the man's whereabouts from police and prosecutors, citing attorney-client privilege.

"I have never spoken about that issue and never waived that privilege," Shubin testified.

Anthony Sassano, an agent with the attorney general's office, testified that he heard from someone -- he said he wasn't sure whom -- that the man was "hidden at hunting camp somewhere so we couldn't find him to interview him."

Sassano said that the man contradicted himself to agents when asked if he ever told anyone of abuse and that his drawing of the locker room where he claims to have been seen by McQueary did not fit the actual Lasch Building locker room.

That "led me to believe he was never in that particular locker room," Sassano testified.

Prosecutors did not find the man credible, Sassano said.

"I don't know if they formed their opinion off my opinion or they had their own separate opinion," Sassano said. "We all arrived at the same conclusion."

Testimony on Monday also delved into claims of improper leaks of material from the grand jury that investigated Sandusky before he was charged. The hearing is expected to conclude Tuesday.

Sandusky testified during the first day of the hearing and strongly denied his guilt. He has already lost direct appeals to the state's Supreme and Superior courts and is now seeking relief under the Post-Conviction Relief Act that is confined to newly discovered evidence, constitutional violations and ineffective lawyering.

Penn State basketball to host Michigan State at Palestra on Jan. 7

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Penn State basketball to host Michigan State at Palestra on Jan. 7

The Penn State men's basketball team will play Big 10 and national powerhouse Michigan State in a home game at the Palestra this season on Jan. 7, 2017.

The announcement comes after the program announced its non-conference schedule Monday. The Nittany Lions are 22-36 all time at the famous Philadelphia arena, which houses Penn's home court. But Penn State is 12-8 there against teams other than Penn.

The program has strong ties to Philadelphia as the Nittany Lions' roster features six players from the Philadelphia area and four alone who went to Center City's Roman Catholic High School, a local power. Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers is from Newtown Square, Delaware County.

Three of the four Roman Catholic grads are freshmen — Nazeer Bostick, Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens. Jan. 7's game will be their first college game at the Palestra, but they all have played there before as the Philadelphia Catholic League has held numerous playoff games at the Palestra in recent years. Shep Garner, the other Roman grad, is a junior. The other Philadelphia-area natives on the team are junior Julian Moore (Germantown Academy) and redshirt freshman Mike Watkins (Phelps School).

Penn State played at the Palestra last year and came away with a 63-57 win over Drexel. However, Penn State was not the home team in that game.

“We cannot wait to take the Big Ten into Philadelphia this season,” Chambers said in a press release. “It is always an incredible experience to play in the Palestra and we are honored to do it this time as the home team. We have so many ties to the city as a program and we look forward to connecting with the alumni and fans in the area."