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Fisher, Villanova too much for Bucknell in 68-52 win

So how did sixth-ranked Villanova look on opening night? Depends on the minute. Ragged for one possession, well-oiled the next. A pass to press row in the first half. Some perfect kickouts leading to smooth jumpers in the second. Nine turnovers before the break. Three afterward.

So how did sixth-ranked Villanova look on opening night? Depends on the minute. Ragged for one possession, well-oiled the next. A pass to press row in the first half. Some perfect kickouts leading to smooth jumpers in the second. Nine turnovers before the break. Three afterward.

About what you'd expect, in other words.

Bucknell hung around Friday night, pulling within eight midway through the second half. But, as you'd also expect, Villanova had a little too much to really make it interesting - too much Corey Fisher, especially.

Winning, 68-52, at the Pavilion, the Wildcats were led by the senior guard, who scored inside and out, tallying 24 points while making 8 of 16 shots, including four three-pointers.

"Pretty darned good," Bucknell coach Dave Flaherty said of Fisher, describing how it felt like "a blur" after his Bison cut Villanova's lead to seven points in the second half. "He hit two or three in a row. We played as good a defense as we could. You have a hand in the guy's face."

Villanova coach Jay Wright didn't attribute the ragged play at times to opening night so much as Bucknell's style.

"They're just really smart about what they're doing," Wright said. "They really packed the lane, they went underneath ball screens. You're not going to blow that team out. They're going to make you grind and grind and grind. Even their offensive possession, they make you play defense for 28 seconds."

Wright said he was mostly pleased with his own team's defense after Bucknell shot just 33.9 percent, with nobody scoring more than a dozen points. The Bison did make 6 of 11 threes after halftime to stay in it.

As the game began, Fisher got the first cheer, when he went after the opening tap and dove right over the scorer's table. Corey Stokes took Villanova's first shot and hit a three. But Bucknell hit two straight threes for an early 8-5 lead. Among other advantages, Villanova had more options. Dominic Cheek came off 'Nova's bench and hit an immediate three for a 10-8 Wildcats lead.

Fisher and Maalik Wayns have the makings of a top national backcourt. Having two big-time point guards is obviously better than having none and usually better than one. Early on, the two guards were looking for and finding each other. There also were hiccups. Once, Wayns misread a Fisher cut out on the wing and threw it to press row. Villanova had nine first-half baskets and nine first-half turnovers. Wayns finished with six turnovers, but also had 15 points (5 of 15 shooting) and six assists.

Villanova freshman JayVaughn Pinkston was out for this game and not on the bench, disciplined for his role in a fight with several other students Saturday night at an off-campus party. The school said Pinkston will not play in any games pending the results of an internal review.

Upper Merion police declined comment on a report in the New York Daily News that Pinkston was locked inside of a room during an off-campus party and had to break down the door to escape.

He then reportedly confronted the men who had played the prank. According to the New York paper, Pinkston allegedly said he punched the two men and one suffered a concussion and the other a broken nose.

The Inquirer learned that two students involved in the incident were members of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

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