NOVA
LSALLE

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Paschall, Booth help No. 23 Villanova avoid La Salle upset

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Villanova coach Jay Wright was raised on Big 5 hoops and considers himself a bit of a keeper of the city series' legacy. He's also quick to warn the Wildcats that anything can happen when Philly teams play at the Palestra.

''It brings me back to childhood,'' Wright said. ''Every time I step in this building, it's a special experience. Once the game comes, I just know crazy things are going to happen. I just expect it.''

Winless La Salle came primed for an upset - but the only unpredictable part of a Villanova game against a city rival is the final score of its latest win. Eric Paschall scored 27 points, Phil Booth had 19 and No. 23 Villanova held off one more upset in an 85-78 win over La Salle on Saturday.

Villanova (6-2) remained the class of the city and won its 23rd straight Big 5 game, round-robin play among five Philadelphia Division I basketball teams. The Wildcats haven't lost a city series game since Dec. 5, 2012 against Temple.

They got a pretty good scare against winless La Salle (0-8).

The Wildcats were reeling after consecutive home losses to Michigan, in a national title game rematch, and in overtime to Furman that knocked them out of the AP Top 25 poll. Villanova steadied itself with three straight wins in a Florida tournament and defeated then-No. 14 Florida State in the title game to return to the rankings.

But a return to Philly only unsettled the Wildcats early.

La Salle was the home team at the Palestra, which serves as much a museum to Philly's glorious history as it is a court for city series games to be played on. The Explorers played the first half like an undefeated team instead of a winless one and buried nine 3-pointers. The sensational sequence came at the midway point: David Beatty drew a foul on a layup and La Salle kept possession. Isiah Deas capitalized with a 3. Beatty had a steal and Jack Clark hit a 3 for a 32-20 lead that set the stage for a monster upset.

The rest of the half turned into a 3-point shootout worthy of NBA All-Star weekend, and the Wildcats closed to 42-39 at the half. The Wildcats, who lost players from the title team to the NBA, could never really shake the Explorers until the waning moments.

''We had the great confidence that over the last few years that we were eventually going to wear people down,'' Wright said. ''Well, none of those guys are on this team, so that confidence isn't there.''

That puts more responsibility on championship holdovers Booth and Paschall.

''We know how coach thinks. Whenever coach tells us something, we try to teach it to the younger guys as quick as possible,'' Paschall said.

Traci Carter's 3 pulled the Explorers to 69-66 and they got it within one with 5:24 left. Miles Brookins lobbed a lazy pass into the middle that was picked off by Saddiq Bey and converted into a three-point play by Booth. Paschall sucked the air out of La Salle fans with a dunk for a 78-72 lead.

Wright kept former assistant coach Ashley Howard winless in his first season on the bench at La Salle. Howard, who worked five seasons under Wright, was hired at La Salle just a week after the Wildcats won their second national championship in three seasons.

''These guys have no weaknesses because all these guys can shoot,'' Howard said.

The Explorers are forced to wonder how much better their upset odds would have improved had leading scorer Pookie Powell not sat out with an injury (lower body). Carter scored 17 and Deas had 15.

BIG PICTURE

Villanova: Wright made it 2-0 this season against the branches of his coaching tree. He also beat former assistant and current Quinnipiac coach Baker Dunleavy in November.

La Salle: Also played without guard Cheddi Mosely (concussion) and forward Jared Kimbrough (foot). The Explorers made 11 of their first 15 shots in the second half.

LONG DISTANCE

La Salle and Villanova each hit 12 3-pointers. Booth and Paschall each had three and Deas hit five.

UP NEXT

Villanova continues its city series games on Wednesday against Temple and Saturday against Saint Joseph's.

La Salle has a busy week with games Tuesday against Bucknell and Saturday against Penn.

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Key Players
Min. Per Game
Pts. Per Game
Ast. Per Game
Reb. Per Game
Field Goal %
Three Point %
Free Throw %
  Defensive rebound by Phil Booth 0.0
  Traci Carter missed layup, blocked by Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree 1.0
+ 1 Eric Paschall made 2nd of 2 free throws 6.0
+ 1 Eric Paschall made 1st of 2 free throws 6.0
  Personal foul on Miles Brookins 6.0
  Defensive rebound by Eric Paschall 7.0
  David Beatty missed 3-pt. jump shot 9.0
  Defensive rebound by David Beatty 14.0
  Saddiq Bey missed 2nd of 2 free throws 14.0
  Saddiq Bey missed 1st of 2 free throws 14.0
  Personal foul on Jack Clark 14.0
Team Stats
Points 85 78
Field Goals 27-49 (55.1%) 29-50 (58.0%)
3-Pointers 12-21 (57.1%) 12-23 (52.2%)
Free Throws 19-23 (82.6%) 8-9 (88.9%)
Total Rebounds 22 24
Offensive 4 4
Defensive 14 17
Team 4 3
Assists 17 19
Steals 5 2
Blocks 2 3
Turnovers 10 15
Fouls 11 21
Technicals 0 1
27 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST
17 PTS, 3 REB, 8 AST
12T
away team logo 23 Villanova 6-2 394685
home team logo La Salle 0-8 423678
Team Stats
away team logo 23 Villanova 6-2 74.1 PPG 38.1 RPG 14.2 APG
home team logo La Salle 0-8 67.5 PPG 37.7 RPG 12.6 APG
Key Players
4
E. Paschall F 16.5 PPG 6.2 RPG 2.1 APG 45.0 FG%
25
T. Carter G 6.4 PPG 2.7 RPG 3.3 APG 35.8 FG%
Top Scorers
E. Paschall F 27 PTS 4 REB 2 AST
T. Carter G 17 PTS 3 REB 8 AST
55.1 FG% 58.0
57.1 3PT FG% 52.2
82.6 FT% 88.9
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
E. Paschall 27 4 2 9/17 3/5 6/7 1 39 0 0 2 1 3
P. Booth 19 3 2 7/13 3/5 2/3 0 37 1 0 1 0 3
C. Gillespie 15 0 5 3/7 1/3 8/8 2 34 1 0 2 0 0
S. Bey 7 3 3 2/3 2/2 1/3 1 32 1 0 2 1 2
D. Cosby-Roundtree 4 5 1 1/1 0/0 2/2 4 23 1 2 0 2 3
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
E. Paschall 27 4 2 9/17 3/5 6/7 1 39 0 0 2 1 3
P. Booth 19 3 2 7/13 3/5 2/3 0 37 1 0 1 0 3
C. Gillespie 15 0 5 3/7 1/3 8/8 2 34 1 0 2 0 0
S. Bey 7 3 3 2/3 2/2 1/3 1 32 1 0 2 1 2
D. Cosby-Roundtree 4 5 1 1/1 0/0 2/2 4 23 1 2 0 2 3
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Cremo 8 2 4 3/4 2/3 0/0 1 24 0 0 1 0 2
C. Swider 5 0 0 2/3 1/2 0/0 0 4 0 0 2 0 0
J. Samuels 0 1 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 1 5 1 0 0 0 1
J. Quinerly 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0
T. Delaney - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Painter - - - - - - - - - - - - -
P. Heck - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Saunders - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Slater - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 85 18 17 27/49 12/21 19/23 11 200 5 2 10 4 14
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
T. Carter 17 3 8 7/16 2/4 1/1 4 36 0 0 4 1 2
D. Beatty 12 7 6 5/10 1/6 1/2 1 34 1 1 1 0 7
M. Brookins 10 2 1 4/4 0/0 2/2 4 29 0 0 2 0 2
E. Croswell 10 4 0 3/3 0/0 4/4 3 25 1 2 0 3 1
J. Moultrie 5 0 0 2/4 1/2 0/0 2 17 0 0 2 0 0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
T. Carter 17 3 8 7/16 2/4 1/1 4 36 0 0 4 1 2
D. Beatty 12 7 6 5/10 1/6 1/2 1 34 1 1 1 0 7
M. Brookins 10 2 1 4/4 0/0 2/2 4 29 0 0 2 0 2
E. Croswell 10 4 0 3/3 0/0 4/4 3 25 1 2 0 3 1
J. Moultrie 5 0 0 2/4 1/2 0/0 2 17 0 0 2 0 0
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
I. Deas 15 4 3 5/9 5/7 0/0 2 32 0 0 6 0 4
J. Clark 9 1 1 3/4 3/4 0/0 4 27 0 0 0 0 1
P. Powell - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Mosely - - - - - - - - - - - - -
S. Spencer - - - - - - - - - - - - -
S. Phiri - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Sullivan - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Kimbrough - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Brower - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Lafond - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 78 21 19 29/50 12/23 8/9 21 200 2 3 15 4 17