Lafayette (1-2) at (6) Villanova (3-0)
Saturday, November 20th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Pavilion (6,500) -- Villanova, Pennsylvania. Television: None. Home Record: Lafayette 1-0, Villanova 3-0. Away Record: Lafayette 0-2, Villanova 0-0. Neutral Record: Lafayette 0-0, Villanova 0-0. Conference Record: Lafayette 0-0, Villanova 0-0. Series Record: Villanova leads, 5-1.
GAME NOTES: The sixth-ranked Villanova Wildcats have an outstanding chance to add another non-conference victory to their ledger as the Lafayette Leopards come to town.
Lafayette got off to a rough start, losing its first two games by a combined total of 12 points. Fortunately, the Leopards picked up their first victory on Wednesday in a 72-68 decision over St. Francis (PA). Lafayette is a member of the Patriot League and would draw great confidence from tonight's game if it is able to be competitive with the mighty Wildcats.
Speaking of Villanova, it has won its first three games by double figures as expected. The Wildcats are coming off an 82-66 decision over Boston University on Wednesday, and they are expected to challenge for both the Big East Conference championship and the national title this season. Jay Wright once again has an outstanding mix of returning talent and exciting newcomers.
Villanova has won five of its six all-time meetings with Lafayette.
In Wednesday's clash with St. Francis, Lafayette knocked down nine three- pointers and finished 19-of-24 from the foul line, two obvious keys to the victory. The Leopards got 26 points from Ryan Willen, who shot 8-of-17 from the field in 31 minutes of action. The only double-digit scorer for the Leopards in the tilt was Jared Mintz, who posted 14 points and eight rebounds. Through three outings, Willen is averaging 16.3 ppg on the strength of his 41.7 percent shooting from three-point range and 87.5 percent from the foul line. Mintz and Jim Mower add 15.3 ppg apiece for the Leopards, who are generating 67.7 ppg. They are surrendering 70.3 ppg to opponents and need to improve their rebounding.
Four of the five starters for Villanova reached double figures in scoring in the victory over Boston University earlier this week. Sophomore guard Maalik Wayns was tremendous, as he posted 12 points, 12 assists and six rebounds while committing only one turnover. Antonio Pena tallied 17 points and eight rebounds, Corey Fisher scored 16 points, and Corey Stokes finished with 12. The Wildcats produced 21 assists against only seven giveaways, and they shot 55.2 percent from the field despite a dismal 1-of-12 effort from behind the arc. Through three outings, Fisher is netting 16.7 ppg to pace the squad, while Wayns is scoring 14.7 ppg to go along with 7.3 apg. Stokes adds 10.3 ppg, and Pena contributes 10.0 ppg and 7.0 rpg. The Wildcats are generating 78.0 ppg while limiting foes to just 55.0 ppg.
Villanova is loaded and will crush Lafayette in this lopsided matchup. Fisher is a tremendous leader, and Wayns is quickly becoming a standout. Watch out for the 'Cats this season, especially in March.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Villanova 87, Lafayette 60
11/20 10:37:55 ET