Not many games can live up to the pre-game hype, but fans certainly got a hell of a game today between #12 Virginia and #1 Villanova. Virginia led by as many as 13 in the second half, but Villanova got clutch shots from Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins to close the gap to a point with under seven minutes to play. For the last six minutes and change, the Hoos and Cats traded huge baskets as the largest crowd for a collegiate game at Wells Fargo Center (20,907) oohed and ahhed the whole way.
Virginia was led by Ty Jerome with 15 points as the Hoos shot 50% from the field. Foul trouble plagued Virginia down the stretch as London Perrantes, Jack Salt, and Devon Hall all spent time on the bench with foul trouble.
Hoos played a solid first half at the Wells Fargo Center, shooting 46% from the field and 40% from three. Ty Jerome continued his success from South Bend, shooting 3-for-4 from three for nine points in just eight minutes of play in the first half. Jerome led Virginia in the first half points-wise, as Isaiah Wilkins chipped in six and Shayok had five.
Defensively, Virginia was outstanding. The Hoos held Nova to just 18% from the field in the first half, including 10% from three. Thirteen of Villanova’s 22 points came from the charity stripe in the first half as the refs were quick to whistle the Hoos defense. Jalen Brunson led the Wildcats in the first half with nine points (on just one made bucket). The Hoos hounded the reigning national champions for the whole first half, making nothing easy and collecting 14 defensive rebounds on 22 Villanova attempts. Wilkins led all players with six first half rebounds.
Ultimately, it was the second half adjustments that Villanova made that won the game for the Wildcats. After not being able to make too many shots in the 1st half, Nova shot 72% from the field including 100% (6-6) from beyond the arc. Josh Hart’s 10 points and Kris Jenkins’s 6 felt like daggers every time they would hit a shot down the stretch.
The final play of the game is one that will likely be talked about for the next week. Villanova’s Josh Hart drove to the basket, but Donte Divincenzo was there to clean it up and tap it in with less than .1 seconds left on the clock sealing the win for Villanova. Here’s a look:
It is a loss that stings for many UVa fans, but ultimately this game did not mean much. A buzzer beater loss on the road to the #1 team is one that won’t be viewed negatively by the committee. Sure, a win would have moved UVa up in the rankings more, but they will probably still get a bump from the game they put up.
Hoos are back to JPJ this weekend when they take on Virginia Tech.