Game Recap: #1 Villanova Wildcats vs. #16 Lafayette Leopards
The Villanova Wildcats plowed through the Lafayette Leopards, winning 93-52. The Wildcats dominated the paint throughout the night and were able to hold a potent Lafayette offense to only 38 percent shooting and four made threes on the night. Villanova also won the rebounding battle by 11 and forced 15 turnovers on the night.
Villanova jumped out to lead early, scoring the first shots of the night to go up 3-0 after winning the opening tip; Lafayette was able to respond a few possessions later, making it a one point game. After that, Villanova jumped out on a 9-0 run, and the game was never in question.
The Leopards are down 11-2. I officially surrender. #LEOPARDATTACKS
— Pablo S. Torre (@PabloTorre) March 19, 2015
The Wildcats dominated for the rest of the night and were led in scoring by Dylan Ennis, whose 16 points led the team, and Daniel Ochefu, who scored 14 points on a perfect 5-5 from the field.
Game Recap: #8 NC State vs. #9 LSU
The NC State Wolfpack snatched victory from the jaws of the LSU Tigers, winning 66-65 thanks to a buzzer beater by big man Beejay Anya. The game started out as a back and forth affair, until Jordan Mickey gave the Tigers the lead at 21-20 with 8:29 left in the first half. After that, the Tigers offense turned into a dunk clinic led by Jarell Martin and went on a 19-6 run.
Entering the break, LSU was dominating the game, leading 10-0 in fast-break points and 28-8 on points in the paint. TNT analyst Charles Barkley went as far as to call the Tigers one of the 10 most talented teams in the tournament.
For most of the second half, LSU maintained control of the game and showed the skill that prompted Barkley to make such a claim. LSU maintained their double-digit lead until a Trevor Lacey three pointer cut the lead to nine with 8:14 left. After Lacey’s three NC State held LSU to just three points for the rest of the second half.
The Tigers had multiple opportunities to extend the lead, but 6 straight missed free throws in the last four minutes. This allowed NC State to chip away at the lead until an Anya layup made it a one-point game with 47 seconds left to play. LSU failed to strike back, missing a lay-up to give the Wolfpack the last possession of the game. With possession back, NC State gave the ball to Anya, who hit a left-handed hook shot with .1 seconds left to seal the win.
Next Round Outlook: #1 Villanova vs. #8 NC State
Villanova and NC State will square off Saturday in Pittsburg fighting for the right to enter the Sweet Sixteen. Villanova has not made it past the opening weekend since 2009, but a high-powered offense looks to propel the Wildcats into next week. The ACC’s leading shot blocker, and now a March legend, Beejay Anya along with his Wolfpack teammates will attempt to thwart Nova’s explosive offense.
Villanova is the obvious favorite and is playing just a few miles from their campus; I expect the Wildcats to come out on top and defeat NC State, along with their opening-weekend woes.
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