College Basketball

NCAA: Villanova pulls off historic rout in win over Oklahoma


NCAA: Villanova pulls off historic rout in win over Oklahoma

HOUSTON -- Villanova advanced to the national championship game Saturday night with the biggest margin of victory in Final Four history, overwhelming Buddy Hield and Oklahoma in a resounding 95-51 victory.

Josh Hart scored 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting.

The Wildcats (34-5) will face the winner of the North Carolina-Syracuse game for the title on Monday night.

The margin topped 34-point Final Four wins by Cincinnati over Oregon State in 1962 and Michigan State over Penn in 1979.

"That was just one of those nights," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "I feel bad for Oklahoma."

The Wildcats now have four wins in the tournament of at least 19 points, the only close game a 5-point win over overall No. 1 seed Kansas in the regional final.

Villanova dominated the Sooners (29-8) after an opening 7 minutes that had the teams trading the lead on almost every possession.

The Wildcats broke it open with a 21-4 run. The stats about NRG Stadium being a horrible place to shoot went out the window along with the Sooners' chances at playing for their first national championship.

The Wildcats, with Hart going 7 for 8, shot 66.7 percent in the first half, including 6 of 11 from 3-point range in taking a 42-28 halftime lead.

"We knew how they could beat us bad so we had a lot of fear coming into this game," Wright said.

As the Wildcats, who won it all in 1985 with the shocking upset of Georgetown, kept making shots, Oklahoma star Buddy Hield kept missing.

The unanimous All-America selection was 3 for 8 in the first half, including 1 of 5 from beyond the arc. Hield came into the game shooting 46.5 percent from 3-point range.

"Just playing defensively as a team ... we contained him," Hart said.

Hield kept putting on and off his familiar white sleeve on his right arm. On or off didn't matter this night as the Sooners absorbed their worst loss of the season.

Villanova shot 71.4 percent for the game (35 of 49) while the Sooners finished at 31.7 percent (19 of 60). The Wildcats only missed five of 22 shots in the second half.

Kris Jenkins added 18 points for Villanova and Ryan Arcidiacono had 15.

Jordan Woodard led the Sooners with 12 points and Hield had nine on 4-of-12 shooting, including 1 of 8 from 3-point range.

Villanova turned the tables from the December meeting with a 21-4 run in the first half.

The Wildcats made one less 3-pointer in the run than they did in 32 attempts in the 78-55 loss at Pearl Harbor. Mikal Bridges, Jenkins and Arcidiacono hit the long jumpers for Villanova and Oklahoma, meanwhile, couldn't get anything going. The Sooners went 4 1/2 minutes without scoring. They committed four turnovers on their five possessions of the drought and the fifth was a missed 3 by Hield that was partially blocked by Hart.

Hart capped the half for Villanova with a 3-pointer with 8 seconds left that made it 42-28.

The Wildcats had as many assists (9) as Oklahoma did turnovers. Villanova shot 66.7 percent (18 of 27) while the Sooners were just 12 for 25 (48 percent), usually a pretty good number but not when the opponent shoots like the Wildcats.

Hurley leaves Rhode Island for UConn

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Hurley leaves Rhode Island for UConn

STORRS, Conn. - Rhode Island's Dan Hurley agreed to become UConn's coach, joining a team that is under NCAA investigation and fired Kevin Ollie this month after another losing season.

The Hartford Courant reported that it's a six-year deal worth roughly $3 million a year, tripling his salary at the University of Rhode Island. 

The school said details of the agreement would be released later. A press conference is expected Friday

Hurley was 113-82 in six seasons with the Rams, who went 26-8 this year before losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Duke. It was the second straight trip to the tournament for the Rams, who won their first regular-season Atlantic-10 championship.

The 45-year-old Hurley played at Seton Hall during its Big East rivalry with UConn in the 1990s. He is the son of Hall of Fame high school coach Bob Hurley Sr. and the brother of Arizona State coach Bob Hurley.

Before taking over at Rhode Island, Hurley coached for two seasons at Wagner and led the school to 25 wins in 2011-12. He also was considered a leading candidate for the vacant coaching job at of Pittsburgh.

UConn won its fourth national championship in 2014 but has fallen on hard times recently. The Huskies went 14-18 this year and 16-17 in 2016-17 after going 30 years without a losing season.

The program also is under an NCAA investigating amid allegations of recruiting violations and reports that team members may have participated in impermissible workouts before the season.

UConn is trying to terminate Ollie's contract "with cause," which would save the school from having to pay the more than $10 million left on the five-year deal that expires in 2021.

Ollie has said he will fight that decision and a hearing involving him, his union and the school is expected to be held this week.

It's not clear how many players from UConn's team plan to return next season.

Terry Larrier, a transfer from Virginia Commonwealth with another year of eligibility remaining, has announced he will turn pro. The Huskies also said this week they were releasing their top recruit, guard James Akinjo from Richmond, California, from his commitment to the school.

© 2018 by The Associated Press. 


NCAA: Duke ends URI's run emphatically, 87-62

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NCAA: Duke ends URI's run emphatically, 87-62

PITTSBURGH - Mike Krzyzewski might want to stop worrying about his team's inexperience. The loaded if young Blue Devils hardly seemed intimidated by NCAA Tournament's bright lights.

If anything, they're thriving under them.

Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year Marvin Bagley scored 22 points to go with nine rebounds, fellow freshman big man Wendell Carter Jr. added 13 points and second-seeded Duke rolled by seventh-seeded Rhode Island 87-62 in the second round on Saturday to earn the program's 26th trip to the Sweet 16. Freshmen guards Gary Trent Jr. and Trevon Duval combined for 29 points and 11 assists for the Blue Devils.

Duke (28-7) will play either Michigan State or Syracuse in the Midwest Regional semifinals in Omaha, Nebraska on Friday. The victory gave Krzyzewski 1,098 wins during his Hall of Fame career, breaking a tie with Tennessee women's coach Pat Summitt for the most ever by an NCAA basketball coach.

The Rams (26-8) and their senior-laden roster never threatened after the opening 10 minutes. E.C. Matthews led Rhode Island with 23 points but the Rams were never really in it after the Blue Devils revved it up midway through the first half.

Krzyzewski's relationship with Rhode Island head coach Dan Hurley dates back to when Krzyzewski recruited Dan's older brother Bobby to Duke 30 years ago. Krzyzewski praised the Hurley family for their love of the "dignity of work," an ethos that has helped Dan turn the Rams into a force in the Atlantic 10.

Work ethic is one thing. Talent is another. The Rams have plenty of the former. When the young but rapidly maturing Blue Devils are as fully engaged as they were on Saturday, they have a staggering amount of both.

The proof came in a clinically efficient opening half in which Duke picked the Rams a part. If Allen and Trent weren't knocking down 3-pointers then they were getting the ball inside to Bagley or Carter, the program's "other" potential lottery pick who is dealing with an achy Achilles. Though he winced at least once while trying to set up on the block, when Carter had the ball in his hands, the grimace disappeared. He scored nine of Duke's first 11 points to establish the Blue Devils' dominance in the paint and when the backcourt got going, the Rams simply couldn't keep pace.

A 23-5 surge midway through the first half put the Blue Devils firmly in command. Their extended zone defense with Allen at the top disrupted Rhode Island's rhythm, at one point forcing Matthews it put up an off-balance, one-handed airball from the 3-point line as the shot clock expired.

By the time Duval's second 3-pointer of the half went down, the Blue Devils were up 45-28 at the break.

As the Rams came out for the second half, junior guard Will Leviton went over to a section of Rhode Island fans and urged them to "get up, I still need you! It's still a game."

Not really. A pair of Bagley dunks shortly after intermission pushed Duke's advantage to more than 20 and the Blue Devils were on their way to Omaha.

Rhode Island: The Rams lose five seniors to graduation, including Matthews, Terrell and forward Andre Berry but have a solid nucleus returning. Whether Hurley is there to guide them is another matter. He acknowledged his name has been mentioned in connections with other jobs, including UConn. He said no last spring. It may be more difficult this time around.

Duke: For all of its offensive brilliance, the biggest difference for the Blue Devils over the last month has been their work at the other end of the floor. Duke held Rhode Island to 40 percent shooting (25 of 63).

The Blue Devils are 14-9 in Sweet 16 games under Krzyzewski.

© 2018 by The Associated Press.