Villanova advanced to the Final Four with a 50-44 victory over Houston.
The Houston Cougars season ended Saturday with an Elite Eight 50-44 loss to the Villanova Wildcats. It was a game that featured two of the best defensive teams in the country. Villanova led the way in this one, as the Coogs only hit a triple.
Jermaine Samuels had 16 points and 10 rebounds as Villanova advanced to their third NCAA Final Four in the last six NCAA Tournaments with a convincing 50-44 victory over Houston in the Southern Region on Saturday’s final.
Caleb Daniels added 14 points for the Wildcats (30-7), and the only field goal scored by fifth-year senior Collin Gillespie was a late clutch shot.
With both teams willing to limit possessions, the top spot for this year’s Final Four in New Orleans was settled in a game that was ugly to watch with all the wrong shots.
Villanova shot 28.8% from the field (15 of 52). The Cougars were only slightly better with 29.8% (17 of 57), missing their last five shots and 10 of 11 overall, and only made one of their 20 triple attempts.
Taze Moore had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Cougars (32-6), who were denied consecutive consecutive appearances in the Final Four for the first time since 1982-84 during the Phil Slama Jama era. The five starters have changed completely over last season, including Moore and two new ones.
Featured in the game
Houston reduced the lead to five in the second half and had a chance to cut it even further, but Villanova made another run to regain the lead at 11-10 minutes into the second half.
And Houston also got their first triple of the game, with Taze Moore batting from a distance.
Houston was able to reduce the lead to two in the end, which caused the majority of Houston’s public to rise, but it is as close as possible. Houston falls, 50-44.
Houston had a slow start, trailing 9-2 before the teams began to negotiate. With eight minutes left in the first half, the score was Villanova 18, Houston 10. Although it was difficult to get the goal, Reggie Cheney of the Coogs had one of the highlights.
Like Houston, Villanova is strong on defense and has so far caused problems for Houston.
The Coogs kept trying to get back into it, and this Josh Carlton jam helped!
Houston was 0 of 8 from a three-point lead in the first half. According to ESPN statistics, this is the only time in the last two seasons that they haven’t hit a triple before the break. And the 20 points they scored in the first half were the lowest total points for the Coogs in the NCAA tournament.
PARITY: Villanova 27, Houston 20
Taze Moore was a player that Houston coach Kelvin Sampson did not even know. Jamal Shead was too young and inexperienced to expect such an impact.
They are now part of a completely revamped starting lineup that is trying to get the Cougars (32-5) into the consecutive Final Four for the first time since 1982-84 in the era of Phi Slama Jama, long before any of the current players were born. .
Sampson has had to replace all five of his starters since Houston’s loss to eventual champions Baylor in a national semifinal last year. However, these fifth-placed Cougars play second-placed Villanova on Saturday in the Southern Region championship game.
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“We have a lot of older guys. We have a lot of experience,” said fifth-year senior striker Fabian White Jr. “We just stay really strong. I think as a team we only get together, especially during the offseason. … We stay united through real adversity.”
Baseman Marcus Sasser, the only starter in last year’s Final Four team and Houston’s top scorer, broke a bone in his left foot before Christmas. His fellow escort Tramon Mark had already suffered a shoulder injury at the end of the season.
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The Houston starters, who never won 72-60 over Arizona in the Sweet 16, are second-year guard Shead, Cal State transfer Bakersfield Moore, and two other youngsters (Kyler Edwards and Josh Carlton). and the Whites, who had started a handful of games before this season.
“I think last year’s team focused more on the guards scoring a lot more,” Shead said. “It’s a completely different environment, but the culture remains the same. We keep playing as hard as we do. We keep playing defense as much as we can. And I think they all feed off each other, just like last year’s team. “
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Villanova won the 2018 National Championship in San Antonio, at the Alamodome about three miles from the AT&T Center, and won the 2016 title about 200 miles away in Houston. The Big East Wildcats champion beat Michigan 63-55 on Thursday night, and now they have to beat the local favorite to reach their seventh Final Four.
“We’re waiting for a road game. What’s funny, we don’t really think about it, you know, you think about it one game at a time, and we never thought about it until I started watching that game last night when our game ended,” he said. Villanova coach Jay Wright. “Then it hit me. Like, ‘Hey, we’re ready, man. They’ll have a big follow-up here.’
The Cougars, champions of the American Athletic Conference, never traveled against Arizona. Shead scored 21 points, the record of his career, after Moore got into an initial foul problem.
Sampson recalled that Shead came to campus two years ago when he was just 17 years old. Shead got limited action in a team full of talented guards in his first season. This season may have been similar before Sasser and Mark were injured.
“He’s a little pushed into an important role early on. He just had to improve,” Sampson said. “He has some older guys around him to help him feed. That was important. So once he found his way, he got his wings, he started flying … Jamal grew up, and this team grew with him.”
Edwards and Carlton had already committed to Houston last spring before the Cougars found Moore on the transfer portal to fill their roster. Moore scored 21 points, the highest of the season, in the Cougars’ second-round win over Illinois.
“I had no idea who he was. … Taze came out of nowhere,” Sampson said. “Taze is a Mississippi kid, humble, realistic, courteous, respectful, nice, great teammate. It was a blessing to have him on our show. Sometimes. You have to be lucky. We didn’t make him the kind of boy he was. when we recruit him “.
There was a moment in Villanova’s regional semifinal victory when senior guard Collin Gillespie’s left knee was awkwardly bent to the ground with a Michigan player on his leg as they searched for a loose ball.
Gillespie, who missed the NCAA Tournament last season because of an MCL rupture in that knee, grimaced as he got up and left contact. And he played all but one minute in the win over the Wolverines.
“There’s no doubt about it. I trust my surgeon and everything he’s done for me. So he’s stable,” Gillespie said Friday. “It’s just one of those things where, if you get hit, you feel a little uncomfortable, but now I’m fine. I feel good.”
PHI SLAMA PAST
Sampson said older reporters are talking about Phi Slama Jama, an era for Houston basketball that he says has no impact when recruiting players four decades later.
“When I think of Phi Slama Jama, I think of success. But when it comes to recruitment, you never talk about it or ever mention it because it’s not related to these kids today,” Sampson said. “But it’s about the program. I think you should honor the past, but not live in it. Live in the future. Live today.”
Houston plays its seventh regional final. The Cougars won the previous six, reaching the Final Four each time they got this far in the NCAA Tournament.
Houston Vs. Villanova: Updates and highlights of Elite Eight
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