Villanova goes wild

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For many college basketball teams, Donte DiVincenzo would be a starter, but not for Villanova, which routed Michigan 79-62 in the NCAA men’s national championship game last Monday at the Alamodome in San Antonio as 67,831 watched.

DiVincenzo, a sophomore shooting guard, ended with a game-best and season-high 31 points after tossing in 18 in the opening half as the Wildcats closed on a 23-7 spurt.

After Wildcats junior point guard Jalen Brunson (nine points) dropped in a three-pointer and 15 seconds left, Villanova made it 37-28 at the intermission.

The top-seeded Wildcats set the tourney record for three-pointers…

Villanova (36-4) didn’t make as many three-pointers as it did during Saturday’s 95-79 destruction of No. 1 seeded Kansas when it nailed 18 of 40 for a Final Four record, but it did convert 10 of 27.

The top-seeded Wildcats set the tourney record for three-pointers made with 76 and most ever in a season with 464.

But it was more than enough because the No. 3 Wolverines (33-8) made three of 23 from three-point range and 24 of 55 from the floor for 43.6 percent.

This is Villanova’s third national title with the first coming in 1985 when the late Head Coach Rollie Massimino’s team stunned heavily-favored Georgetown.

Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright has now claimed two of the last three national banners.

“I really can’t get my mind around it,’’ said Wright. “I never dreamed of this. We just took it one day at a time. We tried to get better every day and I thought we played our best game in the championship game.’’

The Wolverines, who came in having won 14 consecutive games, were ahead 11-8 with 13:56 on the clock when junior center Moritz Wagner (16 points with seven rebounds) nailed a three-pointer.

Michigan settled into a 19-14 lead when freshman shooting guard Jordan Poole scored a basket and canned a free throw for his only points with 11:51 left.

Michigan slid ahead 21-14 with 11 minutes left, but it was downhill after that.

When freshman point guard Collin Gillespie (four points) drilled a pair of charity tosses and 7:32 showing, the Wildcats drew within 21-20.

With 3:54 remaining, Villanova (27 of 57 for 47.4 percent) pulled in front 30-26 as DiVincenzo, who made seven of 10 shots in the first half, had 16 points.

The Wildcats, who led the nation in scoring, waltzed in front 44-30 with 18:03 left as junior power forward Eric Paschall (six points with eight caroms) put in a driving layup.

With 7:48 left, DiVincenzo (five caroms and three assists) hammered in a trey and canned another three-pointer just before as the Wildcats led 62-44.

Senior shooting guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman led Michigan with 23 points.

Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at yankeespride55@gmail.com.

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The Sports Department Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at richsports5@sbcglobal.net.

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