Villanova routs Kansas for a trip to the title game
The Villanova Wildcats were on a mission to be one game away from reclaiming their place at being the best.
A game that was expected to be close in margin between two esteemed basketball programs, it suddenly became a one-sided boxing match with Villanova pulling out all the punches against the Kansas Jayhawks; setting a new Final Four record as they scored a total of 18 3-pointers in their, 95-79, victory at the Alamodome in San Antonio, TX Saturday night.
“That was just one of those nights,” Villanova head coach, Jay Wright, said. “Man, we made every shot to start the game. And when you do that, you get up 22-4, if you’re a decent free-throw shooting team it’s tough to come back on that.”
The Wildcats made it clear as to who was the best team that night as the Jayhawks had no answer to Villanova’s offense.
Within the first seven minutes of the first half, Villanova had a comfortable eighteen point lead (22-4) against Kansas; the Wildcats did not led up their assault from the 3-point line.
Villanova made 13 3-pointers in the first half, which is a record for a Final Four game. The previous teams to hold the record was UNLV – who made made 13 3-pointers in the National Semifinals against Indiana on March 28, 1987 – and Duke, who also made 13 triples in a National Semifinal against West Virginia on April 3, 2010.
Despite their efforts, the Jayhawks began to feel the pressure of such deficit.
“It’s tough. It’s tough, especially when most of the points come from the 3-point line,” Kansas sophomore, Malik Newman, said. “You feel like you don’t really give yourself a chance to win. You put yourself in a deep hole. And it’s hard to climb out of it.”
Kansas sought to find a way to stop Villanova’s offensive prowess at the half, trailing the Wildcats 47-32. Villanova, however, proved to be an unstoppable juggernaut with their continued offensive assault from the 3-point line.
“We wanted to try and stop getting caught in rotations and we wanted to keep them from getting in the lane,” Kansas freshman forward, Silvio De Sousa, said. “They were able to put us in a lot of rotations with their bigs shooting threes.”
Within the first minutes of the second half, the Wildcats had claimed the record when Villanova’s Eirc Paschall made the 14th 3-pointer.
Although, their offensive raid proved to hard task for Kansas, Villanova’s defense proved to be just as tough for the Jayhawks to maintain any type of rhythm throughout the entire game.
“If you look at the numbers, we held them to 45 percent shooting, got to the foul line 20 times, coach Wright said. “It doesn’t look great, but against that team — that averages 80 points a game is very, very talented offensive team, very well-coached — it’s actually a pretty good job. We were pleased defensively, especially having a lead..”
Villanova put the game away in the end by massing a total number of 18 3-pointers against Kansas; advancing to the championship against the Michigan Wolverines Monday night at the Alamodome.
One game away from being champions
The Wildcats have an opportunity to win their second title in three years and their offensive prowess will have to go through a tough Michigan defense – who outscored Loyola Chicago 22-10 in the final eight minutes of the game to win and advance to the title game.
Despite the challenge ahead, the Wildcats don’t plan to change the formula that worked so well for them come Monday night against the Wolverines.
“Just coming out, ready to compete and defend and rebounding and continue to do what we do,” Villanova freshman forward, Omari Spellman, said. “We don’t pride ourselves on shooting the ball well. We pride ourselves on defending and rebounding, and that’s our true measure of success in playing Villanova basketball. So we’re definitely going to look to come out and do that on Monday.”