SAN ANTONIA (AP) – Villanova Wildcats have made their second home in Alamo City, where they won the national championship in 2018 and are paving the way for another.
№ 11 Michigan dips to № 2 Vilanova in Sweet 16
Jermaine Samuels scored 22 points, Colin Gillespie scored 12 and was late with a key three-pointer, while Villanova controlled Michigan in a 63-55 Sweet 16 win Thursday night at the NCAA Tournament.
Samuels and Gillespie were freshmen for the title a few years ago. Now it’s gray veterans and longtime newcomers who are still due to the extra season eligible to participate in the pandemic.
They are also the driving force behind second-seeded Vilanova (28-7), who reached the Southern Region final and played with the winner of Thursday night’s match between Arizona and Houston, seeded No. 5. This is the deepest series in the tournament for Villanov has since coach Jay Wright won the second of his two national titles in 2018 – against Michigan.
Shooting Samuels 8 out of 13most of it accounted for heavy trips through the Michigan defenders and around central 7-foot-1 Wolverines Hunter Dickinson, committed the Wildcats offense, which had long stretches of misfires on three-pointers.
Samuels battled Dickinson at both ends of the field and challenged the big man every time he had the ball to deflect blows or force an exit.
“I just wanted to stay mobile and move,” Samuels said. “He’s a phenomenal player, so he’ll look great in the basket. But the fact that I have teammates behind me gave me all the necessary confidence. “
The defeat ends a turbulent season for Wolverine (19-15) and coach Giovanni Howard, whose team came on the tournament field only to shine in the first two rounds. Howard was disqualified for five games at the end of the season for hitting an assistant from Wisconsin during a post-match handshake line.
“We learned a lot (about) who we are,” Howard said. “We always say that Michigan is a family. We were the most connected group this year because everyone supported each other. When I leave this season and look back, there is no reason not to raise my head. “
Vilanova twice threatened to break out of the game in the second half, but Wolverine matched Nova’s 3-point shot in jerks to linger. Guard Eli Brooks continued to save Michigan with a three-pointer, making it 3 out of 5. One of Brooks ’threes as well as two free throws by Terence Williams II, led by Wolverine in the 54-50 range, remained just over 3 minutes.
Michigan had a wealth of tournament experience to rely on. They bounced back from a deficit in the break against Colorado and Tennessee to get into Sweet 16 for the fifth year in a row.
But after Dickinson, who led Wolverine with 15 points and 15 rebounds, missed near the basket, Samuels flew past him at the other end to stay. Gillespie followed by a three-pointer – his fourth game – from the left flank to make the score 59-50 with a score of 1:52.
It was the cushion Wildcats needed as Michigan closed for six points before Samuels made four three-throws in the last 13 seconds to put it off.
In defense, Vilanova refused to give up a place under the basket to the big man of Michigan, who scored an average of 24 points in two Michigan victories in NCAA tournaments. Dickinson was 6 out of 16 shooting.
“We asked (Samuels) a lot for him on the defensive side, guarding Dickinson a lot. And then in the offensive we try to move Dickinson, ”Wright said. “It sounds good if you’re not the guy who needs to go. You run, set screens, cut so that he follows you … He never wanted to go out. “
The big picture
Michigan: Guard DeVante Jones is back in the starting lineup. He missed the game in the first round of Raamahi against Colorado due to concussion protocols, and was disqualified from the second half of the victory in the second round over Tennessee when his symptoms returned. He scored seven and made five rebounds against Vilanova, and also briefly left the game in the second half when he fell hard to the floor, chasing a free ball.
Vilanova: The Wildcats ran three-pointers all season, and nothing stopped them unless they went against Wolverine. The Wildcats were 9 out of 30 from a long distance – their ninth game this season with at least 30 attempts. Most were 50 in the victory over Syracuse.
“We have a saying, ‘Shoot them, sleep in the streets,'” Wright said. “We’re fine if we have open strikes.”
Former Howard teammates from Michigan Jalen Rose and Ray Jackson from the era of “Fab Five”, who played for two national titles, were in the entertainment section of Michigan. Rose stood the whole game in a hoodie with the inscription “Black As Hail”. Jackson wore a yellow Wolverine Culture shirt.
Before the game, Vilanova announced that the season of freshman bodyguard Jordan Longin is over. He needs arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. He was injured in training on March 16 and did not play in the tournament. Longino has played in 26 games this season, averaging 8.8 minutes and 1.8 points.
“We are all pleased with Jordan that this injury prevented him from playing in the NCAA tournament,” Wright said.