Former UTSA pitcher blanks Astros in MLB debut

Justin Anderson, making his major league debut, pitched a scoreless eighth inning Monday night in the Los Angeles Angels’ 2-0 victory over the world champion Houston Astros.

After retiring the first two batters he faced, the former right-handed pitcher for the UTSA Roadrunners yielded singles to George Springer and Jose Altuve.

Next, Anderson faced Carlos Correa with runners at first and third.

But with the Astros’ home crowd in Houston roaring, he didn’t flinch, striking out Correa on a slider to preserve his team’s two-run lead.

A television replay showed a group of friends and fans cheering with enthusiasm as Anderson, a Houston native, walked off the field.

It was the end of a wild day for Anderson, who was called up to the majors from Triple A on Sunday.

Before the Angels-Astros game, he told the Orange County Register that he “broke down” when he got the news of his promotion.

In the next 24 hours, his life was turned upside down, as family and friends touched base to offer congratulations.

“So far it’s been pretty crazy,” Anderson told Jeff Fletcher of the Register. “My phone is blowing up.”

The former Houston schoolboy, who pitched at UTSA from 2012-14, is the second former Roadrunners player to make it to the major leagues.

He follows catcher and former UTSA teammate John Bormann, who made it up for one game with the Pittsburgh Pirates last April.

“I am just proud of Justin and his accomplishment,” UTSA coach Jason Marshall said in a text. “It’s a boyhood dream that so many young guys have but so few ever realize it.”

Anderson, 25, was selected on the 14th round of the 2014 draft out of UTSA.

He started the 2017 season at Inland Empire of the Class A California League and moved up later to the Mobile BayBears, a Class AA team in the Southern League.

This spring, he started at Mobile and recently was pulled up to the Triple-A, Pacific Coast League Salt Lake Bees.

In three appearances for Salt Lake, the 6-3, 220-pound right-hander didn’t allow a run or a hit in five innings over three games.

He struck out six and walked one.

“We’ve seen him for a number of years,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia told the Register. “The reason he’s here is not so much us seeing him, but the adjustments he’s made, using the experience to improve.

“Right now he’s made some big strides, from spring training to now.”

Clearly, it was a moment to savor for Anderson, who was a sophomore in 2013, when Marshall led the Roadrunners to the NCAA tournament in his first year as head coach.

“Justin has continued to make strides through the Angels’ organization, and to be afforded a debut in his hometown and in front of his parents, extended family and friends, I’m sure it’s a memory of a lifetime for him,” the coach said.

Anderson came out of Houston St. Pius X High School and played his first season at UTSA in 2012, when he finished 3-2 in 11 appearances.

He was 0-1 in limited duty in 2013. But by the next season, he started to attract attention, fashioning a 4-5 record with a 2.92 ERA.

Anderson’s call up comes three days before the NFL Draft, when defensive end Marcus Davenport from UTSA is expected to be selected, potentially in the first round.

“It’s one of the most important markers in the life of a college baseball program to have young men reach the pinnacle of the sport,” Marshall said. “As UTSA grows and the athletic programs reach new heights, you are going to see more and more of our athletes play on the big stage.

“For Justin to reach the big leagues just goes to show that the road can start in San Antonio at UTSA, and Major League Baseball is attainable for aspiring young players.”

Texas Tech set for tests this week at Arkansas, TCU

Is Texas Tech really this good?

We’ll know more this week when the fourth-ranked Red Raiders play two on the road at No. 8 Arkansas.

The games between former rivals in the Southwest Conference are set for Tuesday and Wednesday in Fayetteville.

After that, Tech travels for a Big 12 series at TCU from Friday through Sunday.

The Red Raiders on Monday moved up one spot in the national rankings, according to Baseball America.

They did it after a 3-1 week overall, and a 2-1 series win over Oklahoma in the Big 12.

Sophomore third baseman Josh Jung from San Antonio (MacArthur HS) enjoyed a magical week for the Red Raiders, hitting .588 with three home runs and 13 RBIs.

He produced 10 hits, including seven that went for extra bases.

Last Tuesday, he became the sixth player in school history to hit for the cycle at New Mexico.

Last Friday, he scored the winning run against Oklahoma on a balk.

On third base, Jung faked a steal of home and caused an OU pitcher to make the mistake that moved runners up, giving Tech the victory.

Here’s the rest of this week’s Top 25, according to the magazine’s website:

1. Florida 34-8 SEC
2. North Carolina State 31-8 ACC
3. Stanford 30-5 Pac-12
4. Texas Tech 32-9 Big 12
5. Mississippi 32-9 SEC
6. Oregon State 29-6 Pac-12
7. East Carolina 30-9 American
8. Arkansas 28-13 SEC
9. UCLA 25-10 Pac-12
10. North Carolina 27-13 ACC
11. Vanderbilt 24-16 SEC
12. Duke 31-10 ACC
13. Kentucky 26-14 SEC
14. Clemson 29-11 ACC
15. Southern Miss 28-11 Conference USA
16. Coastal Carolina 28-14 Sun Belt
17. Florida State 29-12 ACC
18. Indiana 29-8 Big Ten
19. Texas 28-15 Big 12
20. South Florida 26-14 American
21. Tennessee Tech 34-5 Ohio Valley
22. Oklahoma 27-15 Big 12
23. Minnesota 25-11 Big Ten
24. Georgia 27-13 SEC
25. Jacksonville, Fla. 28-13 Atlantic Sun

Drama kings: UTSA beats FIU, 5-4, in 10 innings

Relief ace Derek Craft struck out five in two and a third innings to earn the victory for the Roadrunners. (Photo by Jerry Briggs)

Just call them drama kings for a day.

Leading by three runs on Sunday afternoon, the UTSA Roadrunners allowed the FIU Golden Panthers to score once in the seventh and twice in the eighth to tie the score.

And then, just as it seemed that the Panthers might steal another Conference USA baseball victory in San Antonio, relief pitching ace Derek Craft put a stop it.

Craft struck out five in two-plus innings of scoreless relief, setting the stage for a two-out, 10th-inning rally and a 5-4 win for the Roadrunners.

After Dylan Rock’s single scored Ben Brookover from third, UTSA had emerged with two victories in the three-game series and renewed hope for a strong finish to the season.

UTSA players stormed the field after Rock’s RBI single to left, celebrating a win that boosted the Roadrunners (21-17 overall, 9-8 in conference) into fourth place in the C-USA standings.

“The later we get in the season, any victories are good victories, especially as you inch your way toward the conference tournament,” UTSA coach Jason Marshall said. “But the margins in our league are so slim. From top to bottom, pretty much anybody can beat anybody on a given day.

“Just proud of our resiliency to, one, give up the lead but, two, just hang tough and continue to get outs. Derek Craft just kind of hung in there, threw some zeroes up and gave us a chance to get to that moment.

“And then just proud of Dylan Rock, a freshman, for stepping in there and getting the big hit.”

UTSA’s Ben Brookover executes a head-first slide into third base with a second-inning triple. (Photo by Jerry Briggs)

With two out in the bottom of the 10th and nobody on, Brookover stepped to the plate for the Roadrunners.

Marshall, in the third-base coach’s box, shouted some encouragement at the senior from Reagan: “Get us a double, Ben.”

Brookover promptly obliged by powering a 2-1 fast ball from Tyler Myrick to the base of the fence in center field.

As he pulled into second standing up, UTSA was in business.

With the game on the line and Rock at the plate, a wild pitch from Myrick skipped to the back-stop, allowing Brookover to take third.

At that point, Rock slapped a 2-2 fastball into left field with some top-spin, bringing Brookover home for the winner.

“Coming into today, we knew it was kind of a must win,” said Brookover, who had two doubles and a triple. “We knew that if we won, we’d be in or around fourth place, and if we lost we’d be in (or) around eighth place, so a lot of guys had the mentality that this was a must win.

“It got a little sketchy at the end, but we definitely took care of business.”

FIU starter Nick MacDonald pitched well, striking out six in 5 and 1/3 innings. But he tired at the end, giving up three runs in the sixth and leaving the game with UTSA leading 4-1. (Photo by Jerry Briggs)

UTSA-FIU series at a glance

With a revised schedule, the Roadrunners and Panthers played two nine-inning games on Friday, with UTSA winning the opener 12-4 and then dropping the nightcap, 2-1.

Brookover homered in the first game and drove in four. For the series, he produced four hits, scored five runs and had five RBIs.

Craft, a pro prospect, pitched in all three games.

In Game 2, he took the loss after giving up a game-winning homer to Logan Allen in the eighth. But by Sunday, he earned redemption and a victory that improved his record to 3-3.

The 6-foot-8 right-hander, with a fastball clocked at 96 mph on the radar gun, worked a combined five innings in the three games and allowed one run on five hits. He struck out seven and walked two.

Records

UTSA 21-17, 9-8
FIU 18-21, 8-10

Coming up

UTSA hosts intra-city Division I foe Incarnate Word in a non-conference game on Tuesday night. The Roadrunners return to C-USA competition on Friday with the first of three games at Middle Tennessee.

UTSA’s Derek Craft fires a pitch in the eighth inning against the FIU Golden Panthers. (Photo by Jerry Briggs)

FIU beats UTSA 2-1 to earn doubleheader split


UTSA players applaud teammate Ben Brookover as he rounds the bases following a three-run homer in the opener of a doubleheader Friday against FIU.

FIU freshman Logan Allen got a second chance to beat the UTSA Roadrunners on Friday night, and he didn’t waste it.

Coming off the bench as a pinch-hitter, Allen belted a solo homer in the eighth inning to boost the Golden Panthers to a 2-1 victory and a split of a Conference USA baseball doubleheader at Roadrunner Field.

UTSA won the first game, 12-4, saddling Allen with the loss as the starting pitcher.

Game 1 recap

Senior Ben Brookover and junior Ryan Stacy smashed three-run homers, lifting UTSA to its 20th victory of the season.

Brookover delivered in the fifth inning as UTSA rallied from a two-run deficit and into a 4-3 lead.

Batting from the left side, Stacy sliced a twisting shot over the left-field wall to highlight a six-run eighth, turning the game into a run-away.

“Just glad we were able to extend the lead in the first game,” UTSA coach Jason Marshall said. “To get a little bit of a cushion there, late in the game, and to win the first game in a series is always key and important, especially to defend your home turf on a Friday.”

Junior Kyrell Miller (3-1) was the winning pitcher in 3 and 2/3 innings of relief. He yielded one run on three hits.

Miller struck out seven and walked one.

“Knowing how (starter Steven) Dressler has thrown all year and to see him come out of the game early, and for us to just hold serve … Kyrell Miller threw really well,” Marshall said. “(He) struck a couple of guys out to end an inning and then struck three guys out the following inning.”

Allen (4-5) started for the Panthers and was pitching well until he ran into trouble in the fifth.

He grooved a pitch to Brookover, who jerked it on a line over the left field wall and into the net for a lead that UTSA would not relinquish.


FIU’s Lorenzo Hampton delivers an RBI triple to right field Friday in the opener of a doubleheader at UTSA.

FIU jumped out to a 3-1 lead in its first four at bats.

The Panthers opened the scoring in the first inning with an RBI triple by Lorenzo Hampton.

They added another run in the second on a solo homer by Adan Fernandez.

Game 2 recap

In evaluating what went wrong in the second game of the double-header, Marshall started his analysis with FIU starting pitcher Andres Nunez (see video above).

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound, right-hander pitched seven innings, limiting UTSA to one run on five hits. He struck out nine.

“You know, I got nightmares of Nunez,” Marshall said. “In 2015, he pitched an absolute fantastic game against us in the conference tournament.

“He’s had some hardships and some injuries, and now he’s back, and once again beats the Roadrunners.”

Allen also did his part.

After UTSA scratched out a run against Nunez to tie the game in the seventh, FIU coaches elected to pinch hit Allen for Juan Teixeira to lead off the eighth.

He delivered with a solo homer over the left field wall against UTSA reliever Derek Craft.

“He got into one, and on a night like tonight when the wind’s blowing out to left, it doesn’t take a lot,” Marshall said.

It was Allen’s first homer of the season in 82 at bats.


UTSA freshman Jonathan Tapia turns on the jets to beat a throw to first base after an FIU infield bobble in the seventh. The error allowed Chris Estrada to score from third, tying the game, 1-1.

Records

FIU 18-20, 8-9
UTSA 20-17, 8-8

Series schedule

Sunday: Single game, noon

Note: The schedule originally called for single games Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Officials on Thursday agreed to play two games Friday, take Saturday off because of forecasts for inclement weather, and then play the finale on Sunday.

TCU loses slugger Luken Baker for the season

The TCU Horned Frogs’ hopes of making a fifth straight trip to the College World Series took a serious blow Wednesday when it was learned that home-run leader Luken Baker has been lost for the season with a broken leg.

TCU defeated UT-Arlington 11-7 on the road Wednesday night. But the Horned Frogs are destined to miss the talents of Baker, a 6-foot-4, 265-pound slugger out of Spring.

Baker, a junior, suffered the injury Tuesday night in Fort Worth during the Frogs’ 4-2, 11-inning loss to Abilene Christian.

Reports indicated that he got his spikes caught in the dirt while running from first to second base.

Through 31 games, he was hitting .319 with nine home runs and 26 RBIs.

With the win over UT Arlington, TCU improved to 19-14. The Frogs are 6-5 in the Big 12 leading into a weekend series in Waco against Baylor.

Josh Jung hits for the cycle as Texas Tech routs New Mexico

Josh Jung, a Texas Tech sophomore from MacArthur, etched his name in the school record books Tuesday afternoon in Albuquerque.

He became the sixth player in Tech history to hit for the cycle in a 20-9 victory for the fifth-ranked Red Raiders at New Mexico.

Jung continued with his season-long batting tear by going 5-for-5, hitting two homers and driving in eight runs against the Lobos.

Highlighting his performance, Jung singled in the first inning, doubled in the third, homered in the fourth and eighth, and then tripled in the ninth.

The outburst raised Jung’s batting average to .403 for the season.

He also has produced seven home runs and 52 RBI in 38 games for the Red Raiders (30-8).

Villanova roars to second NCAA title in three years

Guard Donte DiVincenzo poured in a career-high 31 points off the bench in front of a roaring crowd at the Alamodome Monday night, lifting the Villanova Wildcats to a 79-62 victory over Michigan for the NCAA men’s basketball championship.

Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo set a record for most points in an NCAA title game by a non-starter. He scored 31.

It was Villanova’s second title in three years.

DiVincenzo, a 6-5 sophomore from Wilmington, Delaware, scored 18 in the first half when Villanova rallied from a seven-point deficit to take a nine-point halftime lead.

He continued to put on a show in the second half, finishing with a 10-of-15 shooting performance. DiVincenzo knocked down 5 of 7 shots from three-point range.

Guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman led the Wolverines with 23.

Records

Villanova: 36-4

Michigan: 33-8

Attendance

67,831

Quotable

Asked what turned the game around after Michigan seized an early seven-point lead, Villanova coach Jay Wright momentarily dodged the question, saying, “We want to congratulate the Michigan Wolverines (and coach) John Beilein, a great program (with) great fans, and we’re proud to have played them in this game.

“To answer your question, Jalen Brunson, Phil Booth and Mikal Bridges are our leaders. When we got down, those three kept us together.”


Villanova coach Jay Wright tells reporters it is difficult to comprehend that his teams have won two championships in the past three seasons.

Catching fire again

Just as Michigan started to make a push midway through the second half, DiVincenzo caught fire once again.

The Wolverines pulled within 13 points, but DiVincenzo answered with a free throw and two threes over the next two minutes to push the Wildcats back out front, 62-46, with eight minutes remaining.

The outburst boosted DiVincenzo’s point total to 27 points.

A dust-up after halftime

An offensive foul called on Michigan center Moritz Wagner with 15:24 remaining sparked emotions among players on both squads, resulting in technical fouls on Wagner and Villanova center Omari Spellman.

After the whistle, Wagner and Spellman faced off, as fans jeered the play.

After a review, officials elected to call double technicals.

The play underscored Villanova’s ploy to blanket Wagner with a physical defense, in an apparent attempt to take Michigans’s leading scorer out of his rhythm.


Holding court with reporters after the game, Jay Wright said he always told Donte DiVincenzo that he had to play defense to play for the Villanova Wildcats.

First-half summary

Trailing by seven, the Wildcats rallied behind DiVincenzo to take a 37-28 lead at intermission.

DiVincenzo scored 12 points in Villanova’s 23-7 run in the final 11 minutes.

Early in the game, Wagner, a 6-11, multi-skilled center, led the Wolverines to a 21-14 advantage.

Showing off a variety of skills, either down low or outside on the perimeter, Wagner scored 11 points in nine minutes.

But after Wagner’s bucket in the paint made it a seven-point game and brought Michigan fans out of their seats, DiVincenzo went to work for Villanova.

Included in his outburst was a long three from the left wing to boost the Wildcats into a 23-21 lead.

He added another three and a dunk to finish the half with 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting.

Michigan forward Moritz ‘Moe’ Wagner said referees didn’t explain a double technical foul called on him and Villanova forward Omari Spellman. ‘But I wasn’t worrying about it. I just moved on to the next play. Stuff happens.’

Speedy Claxton to Jay Wright: Go ahead and win it

Former Spurs guard Speedy Claxton led Jay Wright-coached Hofstra to the 2000 NCAA tournament.

Craig “Speedy” Claxton made history in San Antonio 15 years ago when he came off the bench to spark the Spurs to an NBA title-clinching victory over the New Jersey Nets.

Claxton was on the floor playing point guard in Game 6 of the 2003 NBA Finals when the Spurs slammed the Nets with a 19-0 run to rock the SBC Center.

Later, he helped the city celebrate its second championship.

Tonight, another basketball title is on the line in San Antonio, and Claxton has a rooting interest.

Now an assistant coach at Hofstra, he would like nothing more than to see the Villanova Wildcats beat the Michigan Wolverines in the NCAA finals at the Alamodome.

Why Villanova?

Well, it’s simple, really. Villanova’s coach is Jay Wright, a man who helped mold Claxton’s remarkable career.

As head coach at Hofstra in the 1990s, Wright recruited Claxton to the school in Long Island, New York.

Together, they led a downtrodden program to the 2000 NCAA tournament.

As a result, Claxton’s career took off.

He spent the next nine years cashing NBA paychecks after being selected on the first round of the 2000 draft, 20th overall, by the Philadelphia 76ers.

Claxton, naturally, has always been a big Jay Wright fan.

But considering that the NCAA title game is being held in San Antonio, he’d really like to see his mentor win, so the two could share in some personal hoops symmetry.

“I just thought about it when we got on the phone earlier,” he said in a telephone interview with The JB Replay. “Oh, wow, (what if) we both win in the same city?

“I’m going to have to text him and tell him to go ahead and win that championship. That’s pretty dope.

“I’m going to have to text him and say, ‘Go ahead and win it.’ ”

Wright joked with the media covering the Final Four that he started his career with three losing seasons at Hofstra and heard rumblings that he might get fired.

But the coach kept plugging away.

Things started to change quickly when he recruited Claxton, a 5-foot-11 dynamo from Christ the King High School in Middle Village, N.Y.

“You could tell that he was energetic and passionate about the game,” Claxton said. “I came (to Hofstra) because of his off-the-court personality.”

Claxton said he thinks there are two sides to the coach. Off the court and on the court.

Off the court, the coach is charismatic and charming. On the court, he can be intense and demanding.

“Oh, he was very demanding of his players,” Claxton said. “He wants high energy at all times, you know, taking charges. Diving for loose balls. Up in your man’s face on defense.”

What Claxton learned from Wright at Hofstra served him well in the NBA.

“He made me the player that I am,” Claxton said. “When I played (for Hofstra), I played every possession like it was the last, because of him.

“I didn’t just want to get a stop one time down. Or two times down. I wanted to get a stop every time my man had the ball.

“I mean, I took it personal, that I didn’t want my man to score. Like, I didn’t like it at all. I didn’t like my man scoring at any time. Not once. Twice. Any time.”

Claxton has worked on Hofstra’s staff for the past five years, including four as an assistant coach, under Joe Mihalick.

In December, Claxton got an up-close look at Villanova when the Pride hosted the Wildcats off campus at Nassau Coliseum.

“Oh, as you can see, they’re one of the best teams in the country,” Claxton said. “They really have no weakness.”

Two years ago, Villanova entered the Final Four at Houston and broke through with its first national title since 1985 by beating both Oklahoma and North Carolina.

This time, its’s a different feeling for Claxton.

“In the first one, I was excited,” he said. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe coach Wright is really in the championship game.’ Now, I expect it. I expect him to win.”

It’s down to two: Villanova, Michigan to duel for a title

The Villanova Wildcats and Michigan Wolverines on Sunday kicked into high gear their preparation for Monday’s NCAA basketball championship game at the Alamodome.

Coaches and players were also meeting with the media.

Villanova coach Jay Wright (pictured, above) talks to reporters Sunday on the eve of the national title game against Michigan.

Wright won his first NCAA championship in Houston two years ago when Villanova topped North Carolina, 77-74.

He’ll get a shot to seize the second crown of his career on Monday night at the Alamodome in downtown San Antonio.

“We are thrilled to be here, obviously,” Wright said. “Every time you come up here, you just kind of pinch yourself, like, we’re still here. This is really cool.”

Villanova forward Eric Paschall emerged as one of the stories of the Final Four Saturday when he hit 10 of 11 shots and scored a team-high 24 in a 95-79 victory over Kansas.

With his performance, Paschall put himself in position to play in his first title game for the Wildcats.

He sat out under transfer rules in 2015-16 when Villanova beat Oklahoma and then North Carolina in Houston.

Michigan coach John Beilein addresses the media at the NCAA Final Four.

Michigan coach John Beilein said Villanova put on an “offensive clinic” against Kansas.

“It was an offensive clinic against a very good defensive team,” Beilein said. “We’re just pleased to be in this forum right now, where we’re playing the last day.”

Michigan advanced to the title game with a 69-57 victory over Loyola-Chicago.

Michigan guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman on Sunday afternoon discussed the impact that coach John Beilein has had on his career.

Abdur-Rahkman came to Michigan as a two-star recruit and worked his way into a starter’s role.

He told reporters that he always appreciated that Beilein treated players who weren’t playing the same way he treated athletes in the rotation.

Abdur-Rahkman will be a key figure in the championship game with his ability to guard the three-point line.

It’s confession time.

On Saturday afternoon, I got myself into a bit of a rush on my way to the Final Four.

Preparing to leave my house, I left my phone charger in the living room.

Once I arrived in the dome press room, I unpacked my gear and discovered the mental error.

Fortunately, my wife was home and, as usual, was more than willing to help me out.

She drove downtown and delivered the phone charger, handing off to me in front of the Express-News building.

I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of having to walk from the dome to the newspaper, and back, but I’m glad I did.

It was a chance to see and hear the sights and sounds of visitors on their way to the game.

In a sense, a mental error allowed me to feel the pulse of the tournament.

It was special.

Villanova hits a record 18 threes to sink Kansas

The record-setting Villanova Wildcats buried six three-pointers in the first seven minutes Saturday night at the Alamodome en route to an easy 95-79 victory over Kansas in the NCAA Final Four semifinals.

With the win, the Wildcats set the stage for a Monday night showdown against the Michigan Wolverines for the national title.

Michigan advanced earlier in the evening by rallying in the second half to down Loyola-Chicago, 69-57.

In the blowout over Kansas, Villanova set a Final Four record for three-pointers in a game with 18.

Villanova also established an NCAA single season record for threes in a season with 454.

Remarkably, the Big 12-champion Jayhawks led only once in the game at 2-0 before the Wildcats started to rain threes on them.

Eric Paschall, Mikal Bridges and Omari Spellman hit three straight from long distance to make it 9-2.

Spellman, Donte DiVincenzo and Collin Gillespie added three more to cap a 22-2 run.

Suddenly, the Jayahwks were down by 18 and struggling.

The struggle lasted for the duration of the half as the Wildcats maintained a double-digit lead though intermission.

Trailing by 47-32 entering the second half, the Jayhawks hit a couple of free throws to cut the lead to 13.

Not to be outdone, Paschall nailed another three to start a 7-0 run for the Wildcats, boosting the lead to 20.

Kansas never got closer than 14 the rest of the way.

Statistics

Attendance in the dome was announced at 68,257.

Villanova continued to bury tournament opponents with its prolific shooting from beyond the arc, hitting 18 of 40 threes against Kansas, increasing its totals to 66 of 156 in five NCAA games.

Paschall, who sat out Villanova’s 2016 NCAA championship run while sitting out under transfer rules, led the Wildcats with 24 points on 10 of 11 shooting from the field and 4 of 5 from three.

Guard Jalen Brunson produced 18 points, including 13 in the first half, to go with a team-best six assists.

The recently-named Player of the Year in college basketball by the Associated Press and the U.S. Basketball Writers also nailed 3 of 8 from deep.

Spellman, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound redshirt freshman, contributed a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Stepping outside, he showed off great touch, hitting 3 of 9.

DeVincenzo was 3 of 5 from deep to go along with his usual energetic play off the bench. He had 15 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists.

Quotable

“Well, that was just one of those nights, man,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “Man, we made every shot to start the game. And when you do that, you get up 22-4, if you’re a decent free-throw shooting team, it’s tough to come back on that.”

Notable

Kansas guard DeVonte’ Graham finished with 23 points and three assist in 39 minutes, and came off the floor with tears in his eyes, having played his last game for the Jayhawks.

Malik Newman, who had 32 points in an Elite Eight victory over Duke, scored 21. But he had only 7 points on 3 of 8 shooting when Kansas was getting blown out before intermission.

Quotable

Graham said coach Bill Self told the players to keep their heads up.

“We had an unbelievable season,” Graham said. “You know, it’s not the way you want it to end. But even if you lost by one point it will still hurt. And we all just need to keep our heads up. It’s going to hurt now but we’ll be all right.”

Self disagreed gently with a question that suggested the season had a “sour ending” with the blowout loss.

“I don’t know if I totally agree with that,” he said. “To me it would be a sour ending if you lost on the last possession. Do you feel better, you know, losing the way we did today or losing on the last possession?

“You always want to perform in a way to put yourself in position to win. But when it’s the last game, certainly it stings and hurts no matter what. I’m really proud of our guys.

“We did not have the perfect roster in many ways to probably win 31 games and win the league in a great league and conference tournament ad get to the Final Four, in a lot of ways.

“And, today, it felt like today it just kind of caught up with us.”