NCAA

Larry Brown to thank for finding Villanova's Darryl Reynolds

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Larry Brown to thank for finding Villanova's Darryl Reynolds

HOUSTON -- Villanova has Larry Brown to thank for Darryl Reynolds.

Reynolds, a Lower Merion graduate, is one of only three Philadelphia-area guys on Villanova’s roster, along with Neshaminy’s Ryan Arcidiacono and Mykal Bridges of Great Valley.

And there’s a curious story how he became a Wildcat.

“We got involved with him late,” coach Jay Wright said. “We saw him in high school. Funny story. Lower Merion played Chester at Villanova for the district championship.

“Larry Brown was with us back then. We were sitting watching the game together. There were all these great players, the lefty that went to Arizona, Rondae Jefferson was in the game. Larry Brown said, ‘I like that guy.’

“He pointed to Darryl Reynolds. ‘I just like that guy's body.’

“I said, ‘Yeah, you're right.’”

Reynolds, an athletic 6-foot-8, 225 pounds, wasn’t a superstar at Lower Merion. He averaged 11.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.2 blocks his senior year for a team that reached the state championship game.

“We kind of looked into him,” Wright said. “They said he's going to prep school. From that point we started following him in prep school.”

Reynolds spent a year at Worcester (Mass.) Academy before signing with Villanova.

“It was just the best fit,” Reynolds said. “It was the best fit by far. I came to Villanova because of the values and tradition of the program. Being home is a bonus. The things coach instills in the players means a lot.”

He didn’t play a lot his first two years — 66 minutes as a freshman, 145 minutes last year.

But he’s been a key sub off the bench for Wright this year. Despite playing just 17½ minutes per game, he’s third on the team with 4.7 rebounds per game and is shooting 66 percent from the field.

Reynolds showed what he's capable of by averaging 12.3 points and 9.7 rebounds and shooting 76 percent from the field during a mid-season stretch against Creighton, Providence and DePaul, with Ochefu out with a concussion.

“He is a great teammate, really intelligent in terms of how he approached his career,” Wright said. “He's a really good player right now. He's just playing behind Daniel Ochefu. He's going to be a really good player for us next year.

“He's a classic example. If you're intelligent, you work hard, you're patient, your time will come. I couldn't be happier for anybody on our team.”

Reynolds has been valuable in the NCAA Tournament, with 17 points, 16 rebounds and a couple blocks despite not playing more than 16 minutes in any of the four games.

In the Miami win, he had eight points and five rebounds in just 15 minutes.

Against bigger opponents, Wright has started using Reynolds and Ochefu playing together lately instead of just using Reynolds to spell Ochefu a few minutes a game.

“We wanted to do that from day one,” Wright said. “We actually tried it in the Virginia game a little bit when we played at Virginia. Then when Daniel was sick and injured, there was some of the games we were playing him three, four minutes, getting what we could out of him, then playing Darryl.

“But at this time of year, when you play against these bigger teams that have great offensive rebounders, that's what I like about the tournament — having both of them. They're both smart enough offensively. Darryl makes free throws, he doesn't turn the ball over, he shoots a high percentage.

“He just started to do that halfway through this year. He's just developed. A lot of his development comes from playing against Daniel every day. Against these better rebounding teams like Oklahoma, we like doing that.”

No. 14 Penn State's defense dominates Rutgers

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USA Today Images

No. 14 Penn State's defense dominates Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Trace McSorley threw two touchdown passes to tight end Pat Freiermuth and No. 14 Penn State's defense set up two touchdowns with turnovers in a 20-7 victory over Rutgers on Saturday, sending the Scarlet Knights to their 10th straight loss.

McSorley's touchdown passes covered 6 yards in the second quarter and 18 in the fourth as the Nittany Lions (8-3, 5-3 Big Ten, No. 14 CFP) beat Rutgers (1-10, 0-7) for the 12th straight time. Jake Pinegar added field goals of 22 and 19 yards.

The win was No. 30 for McSorley as a starter, making him the winningest quarterback in school history. The senior had been tied with Todd Blackledge (1980-82) and Tony Sacca (1988-91). The two touchdowns increased his total - running and passing - to 101.

Raheem Blacksheer scored on a 2-yard fourth-quarter run for Rutgers to deny Penn State its first shutout in more than a season.

The dominant group for Penn State was its defense, which forced three turnovers, had four sacks and 11 tackles for losses and held Rutgers to 46 yards passing.

Safety Garrett Taylor intercepted a horrible pass by freshman Art Sitkowski late in the second quarter to give the Nittany Lions the ball at the Rutgers 28. Four plays later, McSorley (17 of 37 for 183 yards) found Freiermuth for a 10-3 lead with 2:04 left in the half.

Senior Gio Rescigno replaced Sitkowski (3 of 7 for 18 yards and two interceptions) after the bad decision on the screen pass Penn State read from the start.

A Daniel Joseph recovery of an Isaih Pacheco fumble at the Rutgers 46 late in the third quarter set up the second TD pass early in the fourth for a 20-0 lead.

The Scarlet Knights should have scored in the third quarter. After moving 82 yards on 14 running plays, they ran a fourth-down flea flicker from the 2-yard line and a wide-open Rescigno dropped a soft pass from Trey Sneed, who had lined up outside and took a toss from Blackshear.

The takeaway

This was not an impressive performance by the Nittany Lions, who were hoping to move into a position for a possible New Year's Day bowl game. The offense never got going and the only reason it was no contest was the Penn State defense.

The Scarlet Knights are now facing the prospect of their first one-win season since going 1-11 in Greg Schiano's second season, in 2002. Rutgers was 0-11 in 1997, so this isn't rock bottom. The 10-game losing streak is the longest since losing 11 in a row over the end of the 1998-99 season.

Up next

Penn State: Plays host to Maryland next Saturday and then waits for a bowl bid.

Rutgers: Finishes season at Michigan State next Saturday.

Villanova routed by Michigan in national championship rematch

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Villanova routed by Michigan in national championship rematch

VILLANOVA, Pa. — Charles Matthews set the tone with a slam and celebrated by flexing to the crowd.

Quickly, the rematch turned into a rout.

Matthews scored 19 points, Ignas Brazdeikis had 18 and No. 18 Michigan beat No. 8 Villanova 73-46 Wednesday night in their first meeting since last season's national championship game.

Villanova captured its second title in three years with a 79-62 victory over Michigan in April but was completely overmatched in the second game at its newly renovated Pavilion.

"I don't think when I'm out there," Matthews said, explaining his emotional reaction to a basket less than 90 seconds into the game. "It was a fun, exciting game. I got the dunk and I screamed."

Eric Paschall scored 10 points and Phil Booth had nine for the Wildcats (2-1).

The Wolverines (3-0) jumped ahead early and never let up. They led 10-2 less than five minutes in and expanded the lead to 22-8 on Matthews' jumper midway through the opening half. A 17-3 run followed, giving Michigan a 39-13 lead. Matthews' dunk and consecutive 3-pointers from Isaiah Livers and Jordan Poole highlighted the run.

Matthews capped the impressive first half with a steal and layup to send Michigan to the locker room with a 44-17 lead.

"I'm very impressed with Michigan," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "Really like their team, great togetherness, great execution. It's my fault I'm running a lot of guys out there. We're not as organized as we want to be. We're trying to figure out a lineup early in the season. We didn't have the cohesiveness to play a good team like that."

Villanova's frustration was evident after Michigan's Zavier Simpson's flagrant foul led to a brief scuffle with Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree near midcourt with 13 minutes remaining and Michigan leading 52-24.

The Wildcats couldn't make any push in the second half, and fans hit the road early.

"They executed way better than we were prepared to play defense," Booth said.

Neither team looked like the two squads who met in San Antonio seven months ago.

Villanova lost four players who were drafted in the first 33 picks of the NBA draft. AP Player of the Year Jalen Brunson plays for the Dallas Mavericks. Omari Spellman is with the Atlanta Hawks. Mikal Bridges landed in Phoenix after a draft-night trade with the 76ers, and Donte DiVincenzo — who scored 31 points in the title game — is with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Michigan lost three of its top four scorers. Moe Wagner, the star big man, was drafted by the Lakers in the first round and is playing in Germany. Duncan Robinson and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman graduated.

"They're a young team and they lost a lot of people," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "This is a November win. That's all it is. We have to learn from it, forget it and get ready for our next game."

Impressive freshman
Brazdeikis' teammates love his attitude and confidence on the floor.

"Iggy is like a mean pit bull," Simpson said.

The Finn
Bill Finneran, the Villanova alum who was the lead donor for the school's on-campus court that underwent a $65 million face-lift, was honored at halftime.

"The worst game you're going to see here," Finneran told the crowd.

Big picture
Michigan: Brazdeikis showed he can score against tough competition, performing well against top defender Paschall. Brazdeikis and Matthews give the Wolverines a formidable wing duo going forward.

Villanova: Showed its youth, giving Wright plenty of teaching points. The Wildcats relied on 3s the first two games, taking more shot attempts from beyond the arc than inside. They couldn't get them to fall from long range, going 3 for 15.

Up next
Michigan hosts George Washington on Saturday.

Villanova hosts Furman on Saturday.