Philadelphia has more to root for than Villanova | Philly Views
March 17, 2017

Philadelphia has more to root for than Villanova

Written by Kevin Kinkead


Some good, some bad for Philly-area natives on day one of March Madness

I usually feel bad about lying around on the couch, but not this week.

We saw two upsets on the first real day of the NCAA tournament, but was anyone surprised? Middle Tennessee State knocked off Minnesota in a 12/5 toppling that most experts predicted. Xavier’s win over Maryland continued a 13-year streak of 11 seeds beating a six seed.

Otherwise, the higher seeds held serve.

The only regional team in the tournament this year is defending champion Villanova, who started in a stupor, but pulled away for a comfortable win over Mount Saint Mary’s. The Wildcats field a number of local products, but there were others with Philly ties in action on Thursday.

Here’s how they did:

Notre Dame

Steve Vasturia (Medford, NJ/St. Joseph’s Prep)

A mixed bag for the Medford native in a 60-58 win over Princeton.

Vasturia didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but pulled down a team-high eight rebounds and hit the front-end of a one-and-one to close out the game in the final seconds.

The senior guard went 3-for-12 from the field and hit one of his two three-pointers while sinking three of four free throws.

He shot similarly in the ACC title game, scoring just five points in the loss to Duke. That came after a brilliant, 18-point effort in the semifinal win over Florida State. He scored 12 against Virginia in round one of the conference tournament and will need to rediscover that shooting touch for Saturday’s game against West Virginia.

Princeton

Myles Stephens (Lawrenceville, NJ/The Pennington School and St. Andrews School), Richmond Aririguzoh (Ewing, NJ/Trenton Catholic)

Stephens finished with 10 points, five rebounds, two assists, and three blocks in the loss to Notre Dame.

Like Vasturia, he didn’t shoot the ball that well, finishing just 3-for-11 from the field and missing on three attempts beyond the arc. Stephens did go 4-for-4 from the charity stripe, though.

Stephens, who is only a sophomore, was the Ivy League’s Defensive Player of the Year. He essentially doubled his point and rebound averages in his second year with the Tigers. He also finished as the conference tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

Freshman center Richmond Aririguzoh did not appear in this game. He did play 13 times this season and averaged 1.5 points in 5.1 minutes per game.
Bucknell
Nana Foulland (Reading, PA/Berks Catholic)
The Patriot League’s Player of the Year scored seven of Bucknell’s first nine points and threw down a couple of nasty dunks.

The junior center finished with 18 points and 7 rebounds, but picked up his fourth foul with nine minutes left in the game. Foulland wasn’t initially involved in the play, but clattered into Jevon Carter from behind while trailing another West Virginia player.

Forced to bench until the 4:22 mark, Foulland couldn’t influence the game down the stretch. He only scored one point the rest of the way as the Bison fell 86-80.

Foulland had himself a wonderful year in Lewisburg. He finished with 11 double-doubles and scored double digit points in 31 of 34 games.

Villanova

Donte DiVincenzo (Wilmington, DE/Salesianum), Tom Leibig (Havertown, PA/Haverford High School), Mikal Bridges (Malvern, PA/Great Valley) Tim Delaney (Mullica Hill, NJ/Pitman High School and Blair Academy) Darryl Reynolds (Philadelphia, PA/Lower Merion High School and Worcester Academy)

Strange start, right?

Villanova didn’t score a single point until the 13:53 mark in the first half, and that field goal came from Salesianum’s Donte DiVicenzo, who began the game on the bench. He led the Wildcats with 21 points and added 13 boards.

After that early bit of sleepwalking, the Wildcats came to life, taking a one-point lead into the break, then gashing the Mountaineers to start the second half.

Malvern’s Mikal Bridges hit a key three-pointer to extend the Nova lead to 14 points with 13 minutes left to play. He finished with 13 points, three assists, and three rebounds. Former Lower Merion and Worcester Academy standout Darryl Reynolds grabbed six rebounds and added two assists.

VCU

Samir Doughty (Philadelphia, PA/Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School)

Doughty’s Rams put up a hell of a fight against Saint Mary’s, but fell behind early and just couldn’t close the gap.

The 6’4″ freshman guard contributed nine points, two steals, one block, and one assist in 17 minutes off the bench.

He got back into the game late in the second half, but committed a crucial offensive foul at the 4:24 mark after Saint Mary’s had just extended the lead to 10. That kept him on the bench until under a minute to play, when he returned to hit a pair of free throws.

Doughty really had an excellent first year in Richmond, where he averaged 23.3 minutes per game. He scored a season-high 23 points at Duquesne on January 4, then bagged his first double-double in a February win over Saint Joe’s.

Look for him to slide into the Rams’ starting lineup in 2017.

Virginia

De’Andre Hunter (Philadelphia, PA/Friends’ Central School)

Hunter redshirted his freshman year at UVA, so he didn’t appear in the win over UNC-Wilmington.

He’s a 6’7″ guard from Friends’ Central School and was the Pennsylvania Class AA Player of the Year.

Minnesota

Ahmad Gilbert (Philadelphia, PA/Constitution)

The former high school state champion actually saw his minutes decrease in his second year at Minnesota.

A 6’6″ guard, Gilbert played just 75 minutes this season, down from 295 last year. He averaged 1.7 points and 0.9 rebounds per game and did not play in the loss to Middle Tennessee State.

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