Tonight in the City 6: La Salle battles St. Bonaventure


Tonight in the City 6: La Salle battles St. Bonaventure

Two City 6 teams are on the schedule Wednesday night, both from the Atlantic 10. La Salle hits the road to play St. Bonaventure, while St. Joe’s hosts Richmond hoping to cling to one of the final spots for the A-10 tournament.

La Salle (16-6, 6-3 A-10) at St. Bonaventure (11-11, 4-5)
7 p.m., Reilly Center

Previous games
La Salle has won four of five and seven of its last 10 games overall. In their last game, the Explorers dismantled Fordham, 89-53. Four players scored in double figures, led by Sam Mills’ 21 points on a career-high seven threes. Tyreek Duren had a perfect day, going 5 for 5 from the floor, including 4 for 4 from the three and 2 for 2 from the line for a total of 16 points. He also added eight assists. La Salle shot 18 for 33 (54.5 percent) from beyond the arc and tied a school record for three-pointers made. They dished out 22 assists as a team and turned the ball over just seven times.

St. Bonaventure is coming off a win as well, its fourth in six games. The Bonnies entered halftime down six to a Rhode Island squad that was just 1-7 in conference play but managed to escape with a 67-61 victory. Propelled by Eric Mosley’s 21 points and five threes, St. Bonaventure stormed back to outscore the Rams by 12 in the second half. Rhode Island won the rebounding battle, 34-23, but it was not enough to slow down the comeback. Aside from Mosley, the rest of the St. Bonaventure team shot a woeful 1 for 12 from three-point range.

Top players
Ramon Galloway has been La Salle’s workhorse all season long. The senior guard leads the team in scoring (17.1 per game), steals (2.3 per game) and three-point percentage (41.6 percent). He ranks second to Duren in assists with 3.4 per game, and also averages 4.5 rebounds. Galloway has eight 20-plus point games and has hit two or more three-pointers in 18 of 22 contests.

Demitrius Conger has been St. Bonaventure’s best player for most of the season. His 13.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists are all top averages on the team. The senior forward shoots 83.5 percent from the line, 18 percentage points up from his freshman year. Conger has scored in double figures in 18 of 22 games. The Bonnies are just 1-3 in games where he fails to reach the 10-point mark.

Keep an eye on …
Since starting 5-0 at home, St. Bonaventure has just one win in its last five home games. La Salle is 6-4 on the road.

Recent series
The Explorers are just 2-3 in the last five meetings with St. Bonaventure. In last year’s 71-61 victory, Duren led La Salle with 21 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Richmond (14-10, 4-5 A-10) at Saint Joseph’s (13-9, 4-5)
7 p.m., Hagan Arena

Previous games
After winning three in a row, St. Joe’s has dropped its last two games by a combined 24 points. In its last game, an 80-62 loss to Massachusetts, Langston Galloway led St. Joe’s with 14 points and seven assists but shot just 2-for-9 from three. The Hawks had four scorers in double figures but turned the ball over 14 times and allowed UMass to shoot 51.8 percent from the field.

Richmond has lost three of four, most recently a 56-46 defeat at home to St. Louis. Not only was Cedrick Lindsay the lone Spider in double figures with 20 points, he was the only one who made more than one field goal. Richmond shot a dismal 10 for 43 (23.3 percent), 3 for 15 from the three (20 percent) and had just five assists as a team. The team that ranks 338th of 345 Division I teams in rebounding (29.0 per game) was out-rebounded, 42-27, by the Billikens.

Top players
Carl Jones has been the Hawks' top scorer this season. The senior guard averages 14.9 points, 2.9 boards and 2.8 assists while shooting a team-best 38.2 percent from three-point range. He has reached double digits in the scoring column in 16 of his 20 games. The Hawks are 0-4 in the games where Jones scores less than 10 points.

Darien Brothers and Derrick Williams have co-starred for Richmond this season. Brothers’ 15.7 points per game leads the Spiders. The senior guard also shoots 45.3 percent from three and an incredible 88.8 percent from the line. Williams, a junior forward, averages 13.1 points and a team-best 6.5 rebounds while shooting 55.4 percent from the floor.

Keep an eye on …
The A-10 standings. Both teams come into the game in a three-way tie for 10th in the conference. With only 12 teams qualifying for postseason play, the winner will give itself a tiny bit of breathing room, while the loser will have to claw its way back into the mix.

Recent series
St. Joe’s is just 1-4 in the past five meetings with Richmond after splitting the season series last year. In the two games last season, Galloway averaged 14 points and Jones averaged 13.

Penn State's signature win over Ohio State has it feeling it's back on map

Penn State's signature win over Ohio State has it feeling it's back on map

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – In another day and time, the late John Facenda — the voice of NFL Films and the very “Voice of God,” as he came to be known — described Marcus Allen “running with the night” while scoring a particularly memorable touchdown for the Raiders in a Super Bowl victory over Washington.

On Saturday, another Marcus Allen went soaring into the night, not to mention Penn State lore.

A blocked field goal by the Nittany Lions’ junior safety resulted in a go-ahead 60-yard TD return by teammate Grant Haley, as PSU upset No. 2 Ohio State in Beaver Stadium, 24-21 (see story). That led to the team’s fans, dressed appropriately for a White Out, to storm the field, and led to the kind of emotions that hadn’t been felt on campus in a long, long time.

“This is for everybody,” coach James Franklin said.

The Langhorne native talked about the game being “a big step in the right direction” as far as healing a community wounded by the Jerry Sandusky child sexual-abuse scandal. He talked, with tears in his eyes, about the death of his brother-in-law four days earlier.

Yet he didn’t wish to discuss whether it was the kind of signature victory he needed to propel the program back toward prominence (or, for that matter, ensure his job security).

“That’s for you (media) guys, all that signature stuff,” he said, adding that he “didn’t want to spend a lot of time talking about the big picture.”

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

Understandable, since the Lions, 5-2 after their third straight victory this season, beat a ranked team for the first time since 2013 (No. 14 Wisconsin), beat a team ranked in the top five for the first time since 1999 (No. 4 Arizona) and earned a victory over their highest-ranked opponent since knocking off No. 1 Notre Dame in 1990.

PSU also snapped a 20-game road winning streak on the part of the Buckeyes (7-1). Seventeen of those victories had come in Big Ten play.

Few people saw it coming, though middle linebacker Jason Cabinda said that amid a sleepless Friday night at the team hotel, he and his roommate, fellow ‘backer Manny Bowen, allowed themselves to dream.

“We were just talking about how great it would be to pull this off,” he said, “and how we believed we could pull this off, and how it would be like writing history.”

It was already etched upon the pages of Brandon Bell’s mind.

“This was no fluke,” the senior linebacker said. “This is what we train for. This is what we go out there and play for. Obviously everybody is (saying) we shocked the world, but this is what you expect. Or what I expect.”

Bell, playing for the first time since the season’s second week because of a leg injury, had a career-high 19 tackles and one of his team’s six sacks. Cabinda, playing for the first time since the opener because of a hand injury, had 12 tackles and a sack of his own. Bowen added 11 stops, and defensive end Garrett Sickels, suspended for the first half for violating a team rule, had career highs of nine tackles, 3½ tackles for loss and 2½ sacks.

“Maybe,” Franklin said, “I should suspend him for the first half for the season.”

With Cabinda and Bell back, the Lions were more aggressive on defense than they had been, more varied. Yet the game seemed to be getting away from them when Ohio State built a 21-7 lead through three quarters.

J.T. Barrett, the Buckeyes’ splendid quarterback, had thrown for one touchdown, Curtis Samuel had busted off a 71-yard run for another and PSU’s repeated special-teams blunders (a blocked field goal, a fumbled punt and a bad snap on a punt) had left the Lions staring up at a team that had won its previous 78 games when leading by 14 points or more in the fourth quarter.

OSU had, however, been extended to overtime the previous weekend at Wisconsin, while PSU had a bye, two things that might very well have contributed to all that happened next. You had Lions QB Trace McSorley capping a brisk 90-yard drive with a scoring run early in the final period. And freshman linebacker Cam Brown blocking a punt (even though the block wasn’t on) to set up Tyler Davis’ field goal, cutting the gap to 21-17 with 9:33 left.

Then Allen blocked Tyler Durbin’s 45-yard field goal attempt as well, the first time since 2007 the Lions had rejected two kicks in the same game. Haley collected the rebound and set sail down the left sideline.

Durbin and holder Cameron Johnston gave chase, and Johnston, the punter, closed the gap on Haley, one of the fastest guys on Penn State’s team.

“I told him, ‘If you would have gotten caught by the kicker I never would have let you live that down,’” McSorley said.

Never mind that — Haley admitted he would have never forgiven himself.

He managed to make it the distance, though, and after Ohio State’s final drive ended with a pair of sacks, PSU had the victory.

When the gun sounded several Lions sprinted toward the student section at the south end of the stadium and performed their own version of the Lambeau Leap. And as the fans spilled out onto the field, two male spectators turned to each other high up in the west stands.

“We’re back in business,” one said to the other.

That seemed to be the feeling in the locker room, too.

“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.”

All because Marcus Allen soared, and took everyone else along with him.

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

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


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – 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.”