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Daily Times assistant sports editor Terry Toohey covers the college sports beat like no other reporter. Catch his latest updates here.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Stokes to play against Syracuse

Senior Corey Stokes will play when 15th-ranked Villanova takes on No. 17 Syracuse Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The 6-5 senior guard has missed the last three games with turf toe on his left foot.
"It feels good," Stokes said at practice Sunday. "I'll be able to go."
Stokes will come off the bench. How much he plays depends on the injury.
“We can’t prepare to go in with him as a starter, then have something happen in warmups where he can’t go,” Wright said. “It’s not just running or jumping off it. You have to worry about him getting stepped on or kicked. So he won’t start, but then we’ll bring him in, give him a shot and see how he responds.”
Villanova has gone 2-1 in the three games Stokes has missed and has struggled from the perimeter, especially from 3-point range. The Wildcats are 64-for-156 overall (41 percent) and 14-for-43 from 3-point range (32.5 percent) in the last three games.
Freshman James "Tahj" Bell came up with a career-high 21 points to lead the Wildcats to a 60-67 victory over Seton Hall. Corey Fisher tallied a career-high 34 points Saturday as Villanova got past DePaul in overtime, 77-75.
The return of Stokes gives Villanova another shooter it desperately needs. The 6-5 senior leads the team in 3-point field goals made (68) a 3-point field goal percentage (41.5), and is second on the team in scoring (14.6).
“It’s not only his ability to stretch the defense, but what he does for our defense,” Wright said. “He’s the smartest defensive player we have. He knows what he’s supposed to do and what everyone else is supposed to do so when he’s on the floor he’s talking to everybody. He’s the quarterback of our defense.
“Having his leadership and intelligence on the floor means a lot. Even if he’s not making shots, they’re guarding him. If someone else on our team isn’t making shots, they’re backing off of him, but not Corey. If he’s not making shots they’re still guarding him and it opens up the floor for everybody.”


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