By David Czarlinsky
Just before midnight on Monday, Villanova clinched its third national title by beating Michigan 79-62 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, TX for their second title in three years.
To start off the game, Michigan had the early edge up 11-8 and Villanova had not drained a three. The Wildcats had shot a record-breaking 18 three-pointers to clinch a spot in the title game on Saturday. This was a battle between the best 3-point shooting team in the country and the best defending 3-point team, Michigan.
Towards the end of the first half, Villanova began to find control of the game. Donte DiVincenzo came off the bench and put up a monster slam dunk which got the momentum going for the Wildcats.
Just before halftime, the Wildcats jumped on a 23-7 run to close out the half. They took a 37-28 lead into the locker room and never looked back.
In the second half, the Wolverines scored first, but Villanova followed with seven straight points of their own. At one point, Villanova made five shots in a row from five different men on the court. The Wildcats were streaking and were up 15.
With 7:30 remaining in the game, DiVincenzo drilled another three and gave his Wildcats a 62-44 lead. Throughout the game Villanova outrebounded Michigan 38-27 and held the Wolverines to only three 3-pointers.
The Wildcats never gave up their lead and finished the championship in a much easier fashion than they did two years ago, a buzzer-beater over North Carolina. Villanova captured it’s second title in three years, a feat only three other teams since 1985 have been able to do.
Jay Wright has been the head coach of both of the championship teams and he said, “This, is out of my comprehension.”
Michigan came out and knew how to take on the big guys for Villanova, but it was DiVincenzo who came off of the bench with a game-high 31 points, five rebounds and played 37 minutes on the court. DiVincenzo’s career-high in points help him earn the honor of the Final Four most outstanding player.
“We have so many talented dudes that we can just get going,” said Eric Paschall, Villanova forward. “We don’t know who’s going to have a good night. Tonight, it was Donte.”
Villanova won all six of their games in the tournament by double digits. They join only Michigan State, Duke and North Carolina to complete that rare run. The Wildcats have only two seniors on their roster and look to continue to be a powerhouse next year in the league.