Villanova Wildcats

Instant Replay: No. 8 Wisconsin ends No. 1 Villanova's bid to repeat

Instant Replay: No. 8 Wisconsin ends No. 1 Villanova's bid to repeat

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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Nigel Hayes' driving layup with 11 seconds gave Wisconsin a 65-62 win over top-ranked and top-seeded Villanova at KeyBank Center, ending the Wildcats' bid to repeat as national champions.

Villanova led by seven at 57-50 with five minutes left, but Wisconsin outscored the Wildcats, 15-5, the rest of the way, limiting Villanova to just one basket during that stretch.

After Hayes put the Badgers ahead, Josh Hart drove the lane with a chance to tie the score, but he was tied up in the paint and lost the ball with four seconds left.

Villanova fouled Wisconsin's Vitto Brown, who hit the first of two foul shots, and Villanova wasn't able to control the rebound until it was too late to put together a potential game-tying three.

Hart finished his brilliant Villanova career with 19 points, freshman Donte DiVincenzo added 15 points and five rebounds and sophomore Jalen Brunson added 11 points, all in the second half.

But they just didn't get enough help, and Villanova's season-long depth issues were glaring against a Wisconsin team that won 26 games this year, was ranked as high as seventh during the season and goes 10 players deep.

Kris Jenkins, the sharp-shooting hero of last year's NCAA Championship Game, continued to struggle, going 2 for 9 from the field and 0 for 2 from range. He was 0 for 8 from three in Villanova's two tournament games and 2 of 19 in the last four games.

Jenkins, Darryl Reynolds and Mikal Bridges, three Villanova starters, combined for just eight points.

What it means
Villanova became the 24th team in the last 25 years to fail to repeat as national champions. Since 1993, only Florida in 2006 and 2007 has won back-to-back national titles.

Villanova also lost for the fourth time in eight years as a No. 1 or No. 2 seed to an opponent seeded No. 7 or lower.

They also lost as a No. 2 seed in 2010 to No. 10 St. Mary's, they lost as a No. 2 seed in 2014 to No. 7 seed UConn -- the eventual national champion -- and they lost as a No. 1 seed in 2015 to No. 8 seed North Carolina State.

Since 2010, No. 1 or 2 seeds are 113-24 vs. teams seeded No. 7 or lower, with Villanova responsible for four of those 24 losses.

Wisconsin improved to 27-9 and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the fourth straight year, fifth time in the last six years and 10th time in the last 18 years.

Stat of the day
These two NCAA games mark the first time Jenkins has failed to hit at least one three-pointer in consecutive games since December 2015 when he was 0 for 4 vs. Delaware and 0 for 2 vs. Penn.

Turning point 
Bronson Koenig hit two deep right-corner threes a minute apart to get Wisconsin back in the game after they trailed by seven with 5:06 to go.

By the numbers
Villanova was just 5 for 16 from three and 1 for 5 in the second half. … For Wisconsin, Koenig, playing much of the game with four fouls, finished with 17 points. Hayes added 19 points and eight rebounds while Ethan Happ added 12 points and eight boards. … Villanova shot 54 percent in the second half but missed three foul shots in the final three minutes.

What's next
Wisconsin advanced to the Sweet 16 and will play East Region semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York on Friday against the winner of a game later Saturday between Florida and Virginia.

This is Wisconsin's 10th trip to the Sweet 16 -- all in the last 17 years. It's the Badgers' fourth straight Sweet 16 and sixth in the last seven years.

No. 5 Villanova steamrolls Lafayette behind Mikal Bridges' career night

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No. 5 Villanova steamrolls Lafayette behind Mikal Bridges' career night


ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- Lafayette coach Fran O'Hanlon planned to switch defenses often in hopes of slowing down No. 5 Villanova.

It ended up not mattering what the Leopards did, not with the Wildcats shooting like this.

Mikal Bridges set a school record by hitting all six of his 3-point shots and scored a career-high 24 points in Villanova's 104-57 rout Friday night.

Jalen Brunson added 22 points and hit 4 of 6 3s in another dominant performance by the Wildcats (3-0), who made 16 of 30 from long range.

"I don't know if you shoot that way if you shoot with nobody in the gym," O'Hanlon said. "And they didn't hit the rim. They were all swishes. I don't think they knew what defense we were in."

Three nights after setting a school record with 13 blocked shots in a blowout of Nicholls, the versatile and deep Wildcats showed another strength and overwhelmed the Leopards (0-3).

Led by Bridges' 4-of-4 long-distance shooting, Villanova hit 11 of its first 14 3s in racing to a 39-16 lead. The Wildcats had a stretch of nine straight baskets being 3s en route to a 56-23 halftime lead.

"Early you start thinking, if we fall in love with that and now we're not making them, we're going to be in trouble," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "But we kept making them. Then you've got a big lead and the basket looks huge."

Bridges finished 9 of 10 from the field before he sat out the final 10 minutes. The junior bested his previous career-high by one point set Tuesday.

"He's never lacked confidence, but he's always played a complementary role and he's always fine with that," Wright said. "I think he's really confident that it's his time to be a leader on this team and be a really aggressive player."

Matt Klinewski had 16 points and six rebounds for Lafayette, which was 7 of 29 from 3-point range.

While it was a Villanova home game, it was played about 50 miles from campus at the PPL Center, home of minor league hockey's Lehigh Valley Phantoms. It was a 20-mile drive for Lafayette, but the Wildcats sure seemed at home.

Villanova spent much of the second half going inside to score. Omari Spellman had 15 points and nine rebounds and Eric Paschall had 14 points and eight boards.

Bridges has made 18 of 29 shots in three games and the Wildcats have eclipsed 100 points two straight times.

"My teammates are finding me in the right spot," Bridges said. "A lot of them have wide open shots and give me an extra pass. That's what we do and that's why I'm scoring."

Big picture
Lafayette: Try as a Patriot League school squaring off against one of the best teams in the nation and watching the opponent hit 9 of their first 11 3s, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon's alma mater never had a chance.

Villanova: The Wildcats have perimeter shooting, depth inside and play good defense. They've been dominant against inferior competition, and will finally get tested next week.

So many 3-pointers
Bridges surpassed Doug West in 1988 and John Celestand in 1999, each of whom went 5 of 5 from long range. Villanova finished one shy of the school record of 17 3s set against Lehigh on Nov. 27, 2005.

No luck
O'Hanlon fell to 0-6 against his alma mater. He still holds the Villanova record for assists in a game with 16 set against Toledo on Feb. 24, 1970.

Only six Division I coaches have been at their schools longer than O'Hanlon, in his 23rd season.

Up next
Lafayette visits Princeton on Wednesday.

Villanova faces Western Kentucky on Wednesday in the first of three games at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. No. 19 Purdue and No. 3 Arizona are possible opponents the following two days.

No. 5 Villanova sets school record for blocks in rout of Nicholls

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No. 5 Villanova sets school record for blocks in rout of Nicholls


Mikal Bridges rejected consecutive shots by Roddy Peters in the lane, producing "oohs" from the crowd.

And No. 5 Villanova wasn't done, not even on this possession.

Omari Spellman brought the fans and bench players to their feet by swatting Tevon Saddler's follow attempt from behind, giving the Wildcats three blocks in 8 seconds and setting the tone in a record-setting 113-77 rout of Nicholls on Tuesday night.

"That's what we should be fired up about," Bridges said. "defensive things, not offensive."

Bridges set career highs with 23 points, four blocks and five steals, and Villanova (2-0) set a school record by blocking 13 shots. Spellman also had four rejections.

"We have the potential to be a very good defensive team," Wildcats coach Jay Wright said. "I think you saw some of that tonight. It was more athleticism tonight than defensive technique."

Donte DiVincenzo added 20 points, Jalen Brunson had 17 and the Wildcats had six players in double figures while shooting 58 percent from the field in their second straight blowout of an inferior opponent.

"I can't imagine many teams in the country being better than them," Nicholls coach Richie Riley said. "I think they have a chance to hang another banner. I think they're that good."

Zaquavian Smith scored 25 points and Peters had 17 for the Colonels (1-1), who trailed by as many as 38 points.

Villanova, which cruised past Columbia 75-60 on Friday, raced to a 22-9 lead and was never threatened. Bridges shot 4 of 7 from 3-point range and the Wildcats were 13 of 30 from behind the arc.

That's an improvement from the 7-of-32 long-distance shooting in the opener.

"A lot of extra passes," Wright said.

The Colonels, picked to finish 10th out of 13 teams in the Southland Conference, entered as a 32-point underdog and were quickly overwhelmed in the schools' first meeting.

With just over 8 minutes remaining in the first half, Nicholls had more turnovers (7) than field goals (5).

Shortly after the three quick blocks, Villanova led 35-11.

"When you play in games like this and you're a school like us, sometimes you get out there and you really want to do well so bad that you put yourself in a tough (situation)," Riley said. "Our guys over-penetrated and over-drove the ball and they made plays at the rim."

Big picture
Nicholls: Hours after Jay Clune was appointed Nicholls' new president, the basketball team collected a check to bring back to Thibodaux, Louisiana. But Riley's transfer-dominated team needs work to end a 19-year NCAA Tournament drought.

Villanova: Plenty of highlight dunks and impressive blocks in two easy wins to start the season. The Wildcats have a lot of weapons, but have yet to be tested.

The Wildcats' previous team record was 12 blocks, done four times and most recently against Delaware in the 2000 NIT. The individual mark is 10 blocks by Harold Pressley against Providence on Jan. 11, 1986.

Defense MIA
Nicholls ranked 335th out of 351 teams last season by allowing 82.1 points a game. And while they won their opener 111-106 over Texas-Rio Grande Valley, they couldn't outshoot Villanova.

The Wildcats scored at will for much of the night, getting good looks inside and open 3s from the perimeter. The Colonels tried to push the pace, but they finished with 17 turnovers and drives to the rim often ended with a blocked shot.

Up next
Nicholls has its home opener Friday against Division II Spring Hill (Ala.).

Villanova faces Lafayette in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Friday before traveling to the Bahamas for three games in the Battle for Atlantis next week. The Wildcats could play No. 19 Purdue and No. 3 Arizona in the last two rounds.