It felt and sounded just like the outdated Large East. The outcome was acquainted to the brand new one.
A sold-out Backyard was rocking prefer it used to in March — pre-realignment — as two outdated rivals met in an electrical environment which will have featured two second-weekend groups. In the end, No. 2 Villanova reminded everybody it nonetheless controls this league, outplaying the third-seeded Huskies for almost all of the second half and advancing to Saturday night time’s Large East Event title sport with a 63-60 semifinal victory.
After they had been eradicated within the quarterfinal by Georgetown a yr in the past, the Wildcats will look to chop the nets down in opposition to fourth-seeded Creighton, an 85-58 blowout winner over No. 1 Providence.
Villanova, the betting favourite when this event started, needed to scrape by St. John’s on Thursday night time within the quarterfinals by some extent. It was way more spectacular 24 hours later, utilizing Connecticut’s energy — its inside — in opposition to them. The Wildcats largely went to a five-out assault, creating mismatches on the perimeter, they usually defended Huskies star large man Adama Sanogo nicely, limiting him to fifteen factors on 6 of 15 taking pictures.
On the opposite finish of the ground, Sanogo discovered himself continuously on extra cell ahead Jermaine Samuels, who torched him for 19 factors and 11 rebounds. This sport was concerning the different guys for Villanova. Along with Samuels, Brandon Slater had 15 factors after sinking the game-winning free throws in opposition to St. John’s within the remaining seconds the earlier night time. Co-stars Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore scored simply 12 factors between them, though Gillespie did have 10 assists and one turnover in adeptly coping with the Connecticut stress.
Tyrese Martin led the Huskies with 19 factors and 6 rebounds and R.J. Cole added 11 factors, eight rebounds and eight assists. Martin did have an opportunity on the buzzer after Gillespie missed a free throw, however his heave simply inside halfcourt was off to the left.
Villanova entered the competition with a sport plan of probing the paint, however not going all the best way. Eighteen of its first 23 photographs had been 3-point makes an attempt. They made eight of them, enabling them to remain shut regardless of Connecticut’s dimension and energy benefit.
That wasn’t a shock. The shock was the gamers who had been hurting the Huskies. Moore and Gillespie scored simply two mixed factors on 1 of 6 taking pictures. Slater and Samuels had been the Wildcats’ two greatest gamers within the opening half, combining for 22 factors and hitting 5 3-pointers.
Neither workforce led by greater than 5 within the half, and it was a one-point Villanova lead on the break. Early within the second half, after Sanogo missed a couple of bunnies, momentum shifted. Coach Jay Wright’s workforce went on a 15-6 run, making six of eight area aim makes an attempt to go up 52-44 on Eric Dixon’s 3-pointer with 10:21 left. UConn, in the meantime, went scoreless for 3:20, till Martin’s three-point play snapped the drought.