cloudyn.png
Wednesday August 17th, 2022 3:22AM

Villanova to 7th Final Four, beats Houston 50-44 in South

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Villanova coach Jay Wright has won national championships with well-balanced and fundamentally sound teams, yet even he knew staying in contention for another title was going to take a rugged and exhaustive effort.

Ugly at times, the final result was beautiful for the Wildcats, who are going to their third Final Four in the past six NCAA Tournaments.

Jermaine Samuels had 16 points and 10 rebounds as Villanova grinded out a 50-44 victory over gritty and athletic Houston team in the South Region final Saturday.

“You just knew watching this team defensively, like you weren’t going to come out and just outscore them,” Wright said. “We really weren’t talking as much at the end about how we were going to score. We were talking about how we were going to stop them.”

Caleb Daniels added 14 points for the Wildcats (30-7), and fifth-year senior Collin Gillespie's only made field goal was a clutch shot late, even though Villanova led throughout to clinch the first spot in this year's Final Four in New Orleans.

“It was like playing against our own selves. They were just as physical as we were,” Daniels said. “It was a literal street fight, every possession trying to get a rebound.”

Villanova shot 28.8% from the field (15 of 52). The Cougars were only slightly better at 29.8% (17 of 57), missing their last five shots and 10 of 11 overall after cutting an 11-point second-half deficit to two. They made only one of their of 20 attempted 3-pointers in their lowest-scoring NCAA tourney game ever.

“We had it turned, we kept getting stops. We were getting stop, stop stop, we just weren’t scoring on the other end,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. “I remember telling them in the huddle, I think it was a four-point game there ... and we kept getting stops that somebody’s going to make a big shot. But we didn’t. Credit Villanova.”

The Wildcats, seeing their fourth championship overall, will play either Kansas, the only No. 1 seed remaining, or 10th-seeded Miami in a national semifinal next Saturday. They have won two championships in Wright's 22 seasons, in 2016 and 2018.

“We couldn’t get Justin (Moore) or Collin in ball screens. They just took it away. We couldn’t get Justin and Collin in post-ups. They took it away. It was hard to even get them backdoor cuts,” Wright said. “They took away our two leading scorers, and other guys had to step up."

Taze Moore had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Cougars (32-6), who were denied making consecutive Final Four appearances for the first time since 1982-84 during the Phil Slama Jama era. The starting five was completely changed from last season, including Moore and two other senior newcomers.

After Villanova missed three shots on the same possession — and was still without any second-chance points in the game — Moore got the long rebound on the break. After initially slowing things down, Moore scored on a drive against Gillespie, getting Houston within 42-40 with 5:25 left.

It was the closest the Cougars had been in the game at AT&T Center, only about 200 miles from their campus, and the crowd was in a frenzy when Wright called timeout. Houston never got a chance to take the lead.

Gillespie, who played in the championship game for the Wildcats in 2018, was 1-of-6 shooting. But his only field goal came on the possession after the timeout when he waved off Samuels, stepped inside the 3-point line and hit a jumper with 5:02 left.

“It was an in-the-moment decision. They were soft-blitzing me basically the whole game. That time they just happened to switch,” Gillespie said. “So I wanted Jermaine to go down into the post. I had a mismatch ... then Jermaine had a guard on him so he could rebound.”

There was a nearly two-minute scoring drought before Justin Moore made two free throws — the Wildcats were a perfect 15-of-15 from the line. A foul by J’Wan Roberts bailed them out with the shot clock about to run out. Those were Villanova's first and only second-chance points.

Villanova had scored the first five points of the game, including a 3-pointer by Samuels on the first shot.

Samuels was also on that 2018 title team as a freshman with Gillespie, but the 6-foot-7 forward logged only one minute total while making late-game appearances in those two Final Four games.

As a senior, Samuels goes into the Final Four after being named MVP of the South Region. He is averaging 17.5 points a game in this NCAA tourney — so far.

INJURY

Justin Moore suffered a lower leg injury in the final minute of the game and was on crutches during the Wildcats' postgame celebration. Moore was dribbling against a defender, and looked like he slipped and fell, then went back down after trying to get up. Initial X-rays showed nothing was broken, but Wright said an MRI was planned and that it didn't look good for Moore.

BIG PICTURE

Houston: After never trailing in its Sweet 16 win over top-seeded Arizona, Houston never led against ’Nova. ... The Cougars had advanced to the Final Four all previous six times they had played in a regional final: 1967, 1968, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 2021.

Villanova: This is the fourth time in a row that Villanova won when getting to a regional final and advanced to the Final Four, following 2009, 2016 and 2018. The Wildcats are 20-3 in NCAA tourney games since 2016. ... They are 9-0 in March, their largest winning streak this season, and have won 14 of 15 overall since the first week of February.

UP NEXT

Villanova will play against the Midwest Region champion in the national semis. Kansas and Miami play Sunday in Chicago.

___

More AP coverage of March Madness: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, College Sports, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Raptors-Pacers suspended, arena evacuated because of fire
The Toronto Raptors’ game against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night was suspended in the second quarter and the arena evacuated because of a fire in a speaker hanging over the stands
8:37PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Villanova to 7th Final Four, beats Houston 50-44 in South
Jermaine Samuels had 16 points and 10 rebounds as Villanova advanced to its third NCAA Final Four in the last six NCAA Tournaments with a 50-44 victory over Houston in the South Region final
8:27PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Kisner, Scheffler making Sunday a habit in Match Play
Kevin Kisner is back in the semifinals of the Dell Technologies Match Play
7:53PM ( 49 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
TIPPING OFF: Can Peacock Power prevail vs North Carolina?
Saint Peter’s has knocked off Kentucky, Murray State and Purdue and now has its sights on pulling another NCAA Tournament upset
7:28PM ( 1 hour ago )
Medvedev, eyeing No. 1 ranking, tops Murray at Miami Open
Daniil Medvedev never gave Andy Murray a chance
7:24PM ( 1 hour ago )
Perez on pole for Saudi Arabian GP day after nearby attack
Sergio Perez takes his first career pole position at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as Formula One races on amid heavy scrutiny, the day after an attack on a nearby oil depot
7:13PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
UCF's Abrahamson-Henderson hired as Georgia's new coach
Georgia has hired Central Florida’s Katie Abrahamson-Henderson as its new women's basketball coach
1:01PM ( 7 hours ago )
Upstart Creighton women top Iowa State, reach Elite Eight
Morgan Maly scored a career-high 21 points to help 10th-seeded Creighton beat Iowa State 76-68 in the NCAA Tournament, becoming one of the lowest seeds to ever reach a women’s regional final
2:47AM ( 17 hours ago )
If the shoe fits: Love leads Carolina over UCLA into Elite 8
Caleb Love hit game-tying and go-ahead 3-pointers 37 seconds apart and North Carolina moved within a victory of its 21st Final Four
2:31AM ( 18 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Did teen's big size factor in Florida amusement ride death?
A rising middle school football player in Missouri, only 14 but already 6 feet, 5 inches tall and well over 300 pounds, Tyre Sampson fell to his death from a towering Florida amusement ride
3:17PM ( 5 hours ago )
TIPPING OFF: Coach K win away from record 13th Final Four
Mike Krzyzewski would pass famed UCLA coach John Wooden for most Final Four appearances if No. 2 seed Duke can beat fourth-seeded Arkansas in the West Region final in San Francisco
7:00PM ( 1 day ago )
Busted brackets mark another topsy-turvy NCAA tourney
There were 17.3 million brackets filled out in ESPN's Tournament Challenge this year, and the quest for a perfect one was done before the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament
3:29PM ( 1 day ago )
College Sports
Notae, Arkansas muscle top overall seed Gonzaga out of NCAAs
JD Notae scored 21 points despite missing 20 shots and fourth-seeded Arkansas made Gonzaga miserable on both ends of the floor, bouncing the top overall seed from the NCAA Tournament with a 74-68 win
1:22AM ( 1 day ago )
Duke beats Texas Tech 78-73 to send Coach K to Elite 8
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has moved within one win of his record-setting 13th trip to the Final Four in his final season on the bench
1:09AM ( 1 day ago )
Duke beats Texas Tech 79-74 to send Coach K to Elite 8
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has moved within one win of his record-setting 13th trip to the Final Four in his final season on the bench
12:25AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
Raptors-Pacers suspended, arena evacuated because of fire
The Toronto Raptors’ game against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night was suspended in the second quarter and the arena evacuated because of a fire in a speaker hanging over the stands
8:37PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Kisner, Scheffler making Sunday a habit in Match Play
Kevin Kisner is back in the semifinals of the Dell Technologies Match Play
7:53PM ( 49 minutes ago )
Biden lashes at Putin, calls for Western resolve for freedom
President Joe Biden delivered a forceful and highly personal condemnation of Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Saturday, summoning a call for liberal democracy and a durable resolve among Western nations in the face of a brutal autocrat
7:53PM ( 49 minutes ago )
Irving indicates he plans on staying with Brooklyn Nets
Kyrie Irving is finally going to play a home game for Brooklyn again on Sunday
7:49PM ( 52 minutes ago )
Miranda to miss Oscars after wife tests positive for COVID
Lin-Manuel Miranda, one of this year’s most prominent Oscar nominees, is sitting out the ceremony after his wife tested positive for COVID-19
7:41PM ( 1 hour ago )