Home US SportsNCAAB Villanova fends off a late Houston push, lands Final Four trip

Villanova fends off a late Houston push, lands Final Four trip

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Villanova fends off a late Houston push, lands Final Four trip

SAN ANTONIO — No one in faculty basketball has been higher at closing time than Villanova during the last decade, with two nationwide titles to point out for it.

Although the gamers are totally different as of late, the consequence was the identical Saturday within the South Regional last.

Villanova earned coach Jay Wright’s fourth journey to the Remaining 4 with a 50-44 victory over Houston, withstanding the Cougars’ ultra-physical type and their huge crowd benefit to earn a visit to New Orleans subsequent week.

The Wildcats, who had been seeded No. 2 within the area, gained regardless of capturing simply 29 p.c from the sector and making 5-of-21 from the 3-point line. However they had been in a position to lead start-to-finish, then fend off a late Cougars push, as a result of they made all 15 foul photographs, turned the ball over simply 9 instances and held their very own on the boards towards a crew that has made rebounding its specialty all season.

Main by simply 4 factors late, Villanova senior Jermaine Samuels (16 factors, 10 rebounds) discovered his method to the rim for a layup with 1:06 remaining — considered one of many huge performs by the Wildcats down the stretch when Houston wanted a cease to present itself an opportunity.

Villanova guard Caleb Daniels drives to the basket towards Houston’s Ramon Walker Jr. within the first half of Saturday’s sport.

Although Houston wasn’t completed but — it had the ball down 48-44 with 35 seconds left after Villanova guard Justin Moore appeared to endure a severe proper leg damage as he tried to get by a defender and turned it over — Taze Moore’s operating layup spun off the rim and finally into the secure fingers of level guard Collin Gillespie, who knocked down two free throws to all however clinch the victory.

It was considered one of a number of enormous moments down the stretch for Gillespie, who shot simply 1-of-6 from the sector towards terrific protection by Moore whereas maybe battling a left knee that he tweaked on Thursday towards Michigan.

However Gillespie’s cool was helpful for Villanova in a troublesome sport and atmosphere the place almost all of the followers within the constructing had been rooting for Houston, whose campus is just some hours away. Although it was his solely area objective, Gillespie scored arguably the largest basket of the sport with 5:20 remaining after Villanova’s 11-point lead had been decreased to 42-40. After a timeout by Wright, Gillespie drained a 17-foot jumper with a hand in his face — considered one of many moments the place Villanova made a play to blunt Houston’s momentum.

This turned out to be each bit the rugby sport on hardwood that you’d have anticipated watching these groups by way of the event. Houston, in fact, was decided to make it as bodily because the officers would permit — and so they allowed a variety of bumping and grabbing that may make most groups within the nation uncomfortable.

Villanova withstood it and in the end by no means gave up the lead, regardless of by no means moving into any type of rhythm offensively. And although Houston finally began to get some traction on the offensive glass within the second half, the Cougars had been restricted to 14 second-chance factors.

Houston, in fact, did not shoot nicely at any level within the sport both, making simply 1-of-20 from the 3-point line and 30 p.c total.

Villanova’s celebration was extra subdued than regular due to the damage to Moore, who was on crutches and went instantly to the locker room after the ultimate buzzer relatively than staying on the ground for the trophy ceremony.

This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: Villanova fends off late Houston push, lands trip to the Final Four

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