Before resuming play in the NIT Tip-Off tournament in New York next Wednesday night against the UCLA Bruins, the 3-0 Villanova Wildcats played the 1-2 Lafayette Leopards, coached by former Villanova player Fran O’Hanlon, at the Pavilion on Saturday night. Lafayette returns four starters from last year’s 19- 13 team. Sporting News magazine picked the Leopards as the preseason favorite to win the Patriot League.
Earlier in the day the Villanova football team, with their last chance to get into the playoffs and defend the 2009 FCS championship on the line, went to Newark, Delaware and beat the top ranked FCS team, the Delaware Blue Hens, 28-21 in overtime. The Cats played a gutsy game to beat a very good team on the road. Congratulations to Andy Talley and the football team on its terrific win.
Villanova never trailed in the game, jumping out to a 7-0 lead before Lafayette got on the board by hitting two foul shots. Before long, Nova ran away from the Leopards. At one point the Cats enjoyed a 21 point lead 31-10. Lafayette made its only run cutting the lead to 31-20 but Villanova scored the last seven points to close out the first half and went into half time with a 38-20 margin.
For the Wildcats, the points were spread evenly between Corey Stokes with 9 (all on three pointers), Antonio Pena & Maalik Wayns 8 each, and Corey Fisher with 7. Pena also had 7 rebounds.
In the second half the Cats flat out beat up on the Leopards. Villanova built the lead to 30 on a Maurice Sutton basket to go up 65-35. The lead ultimately grew to 47 points when Dominic Cheek hit a jumper, part of a 16-0 run, to make the score 86-39. The final score was 86-41, capping a great day for Villanova sports.
Except for lackluster three point shooting, the Cats played effectively. By doing so, Villanova recorded their fourth victory in as many tries this season.
Leading scorers for the Cats, who had six players in double figures, were Stokes with 19, Fisher 16, Pena & Yarou with 12 (Mouph also had 12 boards for a double- double), Sutton had 11, and Wayns 10. Rebounding leaders were Yarou with a dozen, Armwood had 9 and Pena corralled 8 boards. Wayns had 6 assists to go with 3 turnovers, Fisher had 4 assists and committed his first two turnovers of the season.
Before the game Fran O’Hanlon was honored and presented with a Villanova Jersey. Some of his old teammates were on hand including Chris Ford, Tom Inglesby, and former Villanova Coach Jack Kraft.
Villanova next plays UCLA on Wednesday night (in the second game of a double-header) in the NIT Tip-Off Tournament at Madison Square Garden. Tennessee plays Virginia Commanwealth University in the first game of the doubleheader.
Check back on Sunday for our expanded photo gallery from Villanova vs. Lafayette