SAN ANTONIO (AP) – Villanova’s coach, Jay Wright, won the national championship with well-balanced teams and basically, but even he knew going on to compete for another title would be a tough endeavor and overview.
Ugly at times, the end result is beautiful for the Wildcats, who will be in their third Finals in the past six NCAA Tournaments.
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Jermaine Samuels has 16 points and 10 rebounds when Villanova scored to seal a 50-44 win over the athletic and athletic Houston in the final game in the South Region on Saturday.
“You just watch this team defend, like you’re not going to go out and just beat them,” Wright said. “We didn’t really talk much about how we were going to score. We talked about how we would prevent them. “
Caleb Daniels adds 14 points for the Wildcats (30-7), and Collin Gillespie’s only goal on the field this year was a late long shot, although Villanova took the lead to claim first place in this year’s Finals in New Orleans.
“It was like playing with our selves. They are just as physical as we are,” said Daniels. “It’s literally a street fight, every property is trying to get a rebound.”
Villanova shoots from distance 28.8% (15 of 52). The Cougars were only marginally better with 29.8% (17 of 57), missed their last five shots and 10 of 11 shots overall after cutting a second-half 11-point deficit to two . They only made one out of 20 3-point attempts in the lowest-scoring NCAA tourney game ever.
“We turned, we kept getting stops. We stopped, stopped, we didn’t score at the other end,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. “I remember telling them in the group chat that, I think it was a four point game there… and we kept getting the stop that someone was going to make a big shot. But we didn’t. Credit Villanova. ”
The Wildcats, with their fourth championship overall, will play either Kansas, the only remaining No. 1 seed, or 10th seed Miami in the national semifinals next Saturday. They won two championships in Wright’s 22 seasons, in 2016 and 2018.
“We couldn’t put Justin (Moore) or Collin on the screens. They just took it away. We can’t have Justin and Collin in post. They took it away. Wright said. “They’ve taken away our two top scorers, and the others have to step up.”
Taze Moore had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Cougars (32-6), who were denied a place in the Finals in a row for the first time since 1982-84 in the Phil Slama Jama era. The five starters have been completely changed from last season, including Moore and two other high-profile newcomers.
After Villanova missed three shots in possession of the same shot – and still didn’t have any second chance points in the game – Moore had a long rebound during the break. After initially slowing things down, Moore scored against Gillespie, to Houston within 42-40 left 5:25.
This was the closest the Cougars had been to a game at the AT&T Center, just about 200 miles from their campus, and the crowd went wild when Wright called for a timeout. Houston never had a chance to take the lead.
Gillespie, who played in the championship game for the Wildcats in 2018, is a 1/6 shooter. But his only goal came after a period of waiting when he waved to Samuels, stepped inside the 3-pointer line and hit a jump jump on the left 5:02.
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“It was a timely decision. They basically fooled me the whole game. That time they just happened to switch,” Gillespie said. “So I want Jermaine in. I didn’t match… then Jermaine had someone protect him so he could recover.”
There was a scoring drought that lasted nearly two minutes before Justin Moore hit two free throws – the Wildcats were one of 15 perfect from 15 from the line. A J’Wan Roberts foul saved them as the timer ran out. That was Villanova’s first and only chance point.
Villanova scored the first 5 points of the game, including 3 points from Samuels in the first leg.
Samuels was also on the 2018 championship team as a freshman with Gillespie, but the 6-foot-7 striker only scored a total of one minute while appearing late in those two Finals.
As senior, Samuels reached the Final Four after being named the MVP of the Southern Region. He is averaging 17.5 points a game in this NCAA – so far.
Justin Moore has a leg injury in the last minute of the game and was on crutches during the Wildcats’ post-match celebration. Moore was dribbling in front of a defender, and it looked like he slipped and fell, then came back after trying to get up. Initial X-rays showed nothing was damaged, but Wright said an MRI was planned and it didn’t look good for Moore.
Houston: After never taking the lead in a 16-Sweet win over Arizona, Houston has never taken a lead on ‘Nova. … The Cougars have advanced to the Finals all six times before they have played in a regional final: 1967, 1968, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 2021.
Villanova: This is Villanova’s fourth consecutive win by reaching the regional finals and advancing to the Finals, following 2009, 2016 and 2018. The Wildcats have taken a 20-3 lead in NCAA games since last year. 2016.… They 9-0 in March, their biggest winning streak this season, and have won 14 of their 15 games since the first week of February.
Villanova will face the Midwest champions in the national semifinals. Kansas and Miami play on Sunday in Chicago.
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https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2022/03/27/villanova-back-in-final-four/ Villanova Returns to Final Four – CBS Baltimore