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.”

Final Four glance: Loyola, Michigan, Villanova, Kansas

Welcome to the NCAA Final Four in San Antonio, from The JB Replay.

The NCAA Final Four is set to tip off Saturday at the Alamodome, with Loyola-Chicago playing Michigan at 5:09 p.m. Villanova takes on Kansas in the second of two national semifinals at 7:49. Here’s a quick glance at each team:

Loyola-Chicago Ramblers

Coach: Porter Moser
Conference: Missouri Valley
Record: 32-5
Streak: Won 14 in a row and 21 of 22

NCAA road to San Antonio: Beat Miami, 64-62; beat Tennessee, 63-62; beat Nevada, 69-68; beat Kansas State, 78-62.

Reasons to believe: With a 98-year-old nun known as Sister Jean cheering them on, the Ramblers called on different players to hit game-deciding shots in the last 10 seconds of their first three tournament games. Loyola then won going away against Kansas State.

Michigan Wolverines

Coach: John Beilein
Conference: Big Ten
Record: 32-7
Streak: Won 13 in a row and 15 of 16

NCAA road to San Antonio: Beat Montana, 61-47; beat Houston, 64-63; beat Texas A&M, 99-72; beat Florida State, 58-54.

Reasons to believe: Wolverines play tough defense, yielding only 63 points per game. Most of their games are of the grind-it-out style, but they can play fast, as evidenced by a 99-point explosion against Texas A&M in the Sweet 16.

Villanova Wildcats

Coach: Jay Wright
Conference: Big East
Record: 34-4
Streak: Won 9 in a row and 11 of 12

NCAA road to San Antonio: Beat Radford, 87-61; beat Alabama, 81-58; beat West Virginia, 90-78; beat Texas Tech, 71-59.

Reasons to believe: The Wildcats always seem to have the answers in big moments, most notably point guard Jalon Brunson. Both Brunson and Phil Booth played major roles in ‘Nova’s 2016 national championship.

Kansas Jayhawks

Coach: Bill Self
Conference: Big 12
Record: 31-7
Streak: Won 7 in a row and 12 of 13

NCAA road to San Antonio: Beat Penn, 76-60; beat Seton Hall, 83-79; beat Clemson, 80-76; beat Duke, 85-81, overtime.

Reasons to believe: Jayhawks point guard Devonte’ Graham is playing with supreme confidence. Guards Malik Newman, Lagerald Vick and Svi Mykhailiuk all hit big shots against Duke. Bill Self has the mojo. He won here in 2008.

Rock chalk: Kansas beats Duke in overtime for Final Four trip

Sophomore Malik Newman scored a career-high 32 points Sunday as the Kansas Jayhawks outlasted Duke 85-81 in overtime to win the NCAA Midwest Regional title.

Newman, named as the region’s Most Outstanding Player, scored all 13 points for the Jayhawks in overtime, leading Kansas to its 15th Final Four.

The champions of the Big 12 Conference will take on Villanova in the national semifinals on Saturday in San Antonio at the Alamodome.

The win was sweet for a Kansas team that had been knocked out in the regional finals in each of the past two seasons.

It is Kansas’ first trip to a Final Four since 2012, in New Orleans. That year, the Jayhawks lost to Kentucky in the finals.

Kansas won its last championship in 2008 in San Antonio with an overtime victory over Memphis.

NCAA Final Four

Semifinals/Saturday

Loyola-Chicago (32-5) vs. Michigan (32-7), 5:09 p.m., TBS
Villanova (34-4) vs. Kansas (31-7), 7:49 p.m., TBS

Championship game/Monday, April 2

Semifinals winners, 8:20 p.m., TBS

Top-seeded Kansas holds off Clemson in NCAA round of 16

The Big 12 champion Kansas Jayhawks scored a Round of 16 victory in the NCAA Tournament Friday with an 80-76 decision over the Clemson Tigers.

Kansas, with a No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region, held off a furious second-half charge by the fifth-seeded Tigers in the game at Omaha, Nebraska.

Leading by 20 early in the second half, the Jayhawks had to make free throws at the end, and they did, knocking down 5 of 6 in the final minute.

Guard Devonte’ Graham was 4 for 4 in that stretch, including two with 13 seconds left for a six-point lead that put the game away.

As the No. 1 seed in the East Region, the Villanova Wildcats have made a living all season with offensive bursts that leave opponents searching for answers.

Villanova slapped an 11-0 run on fifth-seeded West Virginia in the second half en route to a 90-78 victory in the Round of 16 at Boston.

Mikal Bridges and Omari Spellman capped the run with plays that brought Wildcats fans to their feet.

First, Bridges sank a three from the corner. Next, Spellman blocked a West Virginia shot.

On the other end, Spellman trailed the play and followed a miss by Phil Booth for a monster dunk.

Just like that, a six-point deficit for Villanova turned into a 65-60 lead with nine minutes left.

Kansas beats West Virginia 81-70 for Big 12 title


(Kansas senior Devonte’ Graham, the Big 12 Player of the Year, finished with 18 points and 13 assists.)

The Big 12 champion Kansas Jayhawks will move into Selection Sunday with hopes for a No. 1 regional seed in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Kansas beat West Virginia 81-70 Saturday afternoon for the Big 12 tournament title.

The Jayhawks (27-7) also won the regular season.

Kansas entered the tournament coming off a double-digit road loss to Oklahoma State.

But the Jayhawks turned it on in the tournament, winning by double figures against Oklahoma State, Kansas State and West Virginia.

Despite a No. 9 ranking in the last Associated Press poll, coach Bill Self’s team was projected as late as Saturday afternoon as a No. 1 seed by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi and Jerry Palm of cbssports.com.

In the latest ratings percentage index, which factors in strength of schedule and victories over highly-ranked teams, they were sixth.

The NCAA will unveil the tournament bracket Sunday at 5 p.m. on TBS.

Saturday’s scores

(Tournament finals)

Big East — Villanova 76, Providence 66, OT

Big 12 — Kansas 81, West Virginia 70

Mountain West — San Diego State 82, New Mexico 75

MAC — Buffalo 76, Toledo 66

America East – Maryland-Baltimore County 65, Vermont 62

MEAC — North Carolina Central 71,, Hampton 63

SWAC — Texas Southern 84, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 69


(San Diego State players celebrate their 82-75 victory over New Mexico in the Mountain West title game)

Conference / NCAA automatic qualifier

Ohio Valley β€” Murray State (26-5)

Missouri Valley – Loyola-Chicago (28-5)

Big Ten β€” Michigan (28-7)

Big South β€” Radford (22-12)

Atlantic Sun β€” Lipscomb (23-9)

Southern β€” UNC Greensboro (27-7)

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference β€” Iona (20-13)

West Coast Conference β€” Gonzaga (30-4)

Horizon β€” Wright State (25-9)

Northeast β€” LIU Brooklyn (18-16)

Colonial Athletic Association β€” Charleston (26-7)

Summit β€” South Dakota State (28-6)

Patriot League β€” Bucknell (25-9)

America East — Maryland-Baltimore County (24-10)

MEAC — North Carolina Central (19-15)

SWAC — Texas Southern (15-19)

Big 12 — Kansas (27-7)

Mountain West — San Diego State (22-10)

Big East — Villanova (30-4)

MAC — Buffalo (26-8)

Azubuike leads Kansas past Bamba-less Texas, 80-70

The sixth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks clinched the Big 12 basketball title outright Monday night, downing the short-handed Texas Longhorns, 80-70, at Allen Fieldhouse.

Two days ago, Kansas won on the road at Texas Tech to secure at least a tie for the crown.

By beating Texas, the Jayhawks (24-6, 13-4) won their fifth game in a row and ensured that they would finish in first place all alone for their Division I record 14th straight championship.

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike scored 20 points to lead Kansas. Guard Svi Mykhailiuk added 17.

Not to be outdone, Jayhawks point guard Devonte Graham added 10 points, 11 assists and four rebounds, fueling speculation that he could challenge Oklahoma’s Trae Young for Big 12 Player of the Year honors.

“I knew I was going to cry,” said Graham, a senior playing his last game at home. “I wasn’t trying to play it off like a tough guy. We got to bring all the trophies out, watch the videos and really soak it all in. It’s special.”

For the Longhorns (17-13, 7-10), the loss left them in uncertainty as to how their record will stand up to scrutiny by the NCAA tournament committee.

Texas might need to win in its regular-season finale against West Virginia, and then win at least a couple of games in the Big 12 tournament, to get an NCAA invitation on March 11.

In their favor, the Longhorns battled hard against the Jayhawks, even without injured freshman center Mo Bamba.

Trailing by 13 at the half, the Longhorns put on a surge to cut the lead to six with 15 minutes remaining.

In response, Marcus Garrett hit a layup and Malik Newman buried a three for Kansas, expanding the lead to 56-45.

Later, Texas charged again, with guard Jacob Young making a steal and a layup to pull the Longhorns within 77-70.

But Kansas, aided by a Texas turnover, scored the final three points in the last 80 seconds to put the game away.

Kerwin Roach produced 18 points, eight assists and four rebounds for the Longhorns.

Graham leads No. 8 Kansas past slumping Oklahoma, 104-74

Eighth-ranked Kansas played at a championship level Monday night, following the lead of senior point guard Devonte’ Graham to a 104-74 victory over the slumping Oklahoma Sooners.

Shooting for a 14th straight Big 12 regular-season title, Kansas won its third in a row to move into first place by a half game over Texas Tech.

Graham produced 23 points and seven assists, while guiding an offense that hit the 100-point barrier for the first time in conference play and the fourth time overall this season.

OU freshman sensation Trae Young, the nation’s leader in scoring (29.0) and assists (9.2), struggled again with his shot.

Though the 6-foot-2 point guard passed for nine assists, Young made only 3 of 13 from the field to score a season-low 11 — 18 below his average.

Young simply doesn’t appear to have the same explosive burst that he did in November and December.

He has hit only 14 of 50 shots from the floor in his last three games.

Records

Kansas 22-6, 11-4
Oklahoma 16-11, 6-9

Big picture

Kansas — The up and down Jayhawks are getting hot at the right time. They hit 60.9 percent from the field and 55.2 percent (16 of 29) from three.

Oklahoma — Once regarded as a premier team nationally, the Sooners have dropped nine of their last 11. They need to start winning just to make the 68-team NCAA tournament field.

Quotable

“We’re a better basketball team than we were three weeks ago. I do believe that,” Kansas coach Bill Self said in comments posted on KU social media.

Graham, a senior from Raleigh, N.C., said it felt great to see the Jayhawks play so well. “We haven’t won like this in a while,” he said.

Coming up

Kansas at Texas Tech, Saturday
Kansas State at Oklahoma, Saturday

Baylor beats No. 10 Kansas, keeps NCAA hopes alive

Guard Manu Lecomte scored 11 points in a late surge Saturday as the Baylor Bears pulled away for an 80-64 victory over the 10th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks.

Playing at home, Baylor (15-10, 5-7) won its third game in a row to keep alive hopes for a fifth straight trip to the NCAA tournament.

Kansas (19-6, 8-4) whittled a 13-point deficit to two in the second half but couldn’t sustain the momentum in falling out of first place in the Big 12 conference.

The Jayhawks have won 13 straight Big 12 titles.

Seven-foot center Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. led Baylor with 19 points. Lecomte heated up late and finished with 18. Nuni Omot came off the bench for 17.

Devonte’ Graham paced Kansas with 23 points. But backcourt mate Svi Mykhailiuk was held to only 2 points on 1 of 8 shooting.

Mykhailiuk entered the game averaging 16.4 points.

Big 12 standings

Texas Tech 20-4, 8-3
Kansas 19-6, 8-4
West Virginia 18-7, 7-5
Kansas State 17-7, 6-5
Oklahoma 16-8, 6-6
TCU 17-8, 5-7
Baylor 15-10, 5-7
Texas 15-10, 5-7
Okla. State 15-10, 5-7
Iowa State 13-11, 4-8

Saturday’s scores

Baylor 80, Kansas 64, at Waco
Iowa State 88, Oklahoma 80, at Ames, Iowa
Oklahoma State 88, West Virginia 85, at Morgantown, W.Va.
TCU 87, Texas 71, at Fort Worth
Texas Tech at Kansas State, 7 p.m.

Texas Tech gains tie for first with Kansas in the Big 12

The Texas Tech Red Raiders have moved into a tie for first in the Big 12 with perennial champion Kansas.

The race was deadlocked at the top after 10th-ranked Tech defeated TCU in Fort Worth, 83-71, and Oklahoma State beat No. 7 Kansas in Lawrence, 84-79.

It was the fourth straight win for the Red Raiders.

Big 12 leaders after Saturday night:

Texas Tech 7-3, 19-4
Kansas 7-3, 18-5
W. Virginia 6-4, 17-6
Oklahoma 6-4, 16-6
Kansas State 5-5, 16-7
Texas 5-5, 15-8

Other scores from around the conference:
Texas 79, Oklahoma 74
West Virginia 89, Kansas State 51
Baylor 81, Iowa State 67

Kansas registers 70-56 road victory at K-State

The seventh-ranked Kansas Jayhawks limited Kansas State to 32.3 percent shooting Monday night and held on to sole possession of the lead in the Big 12 men’s basketball race with a 70-56 road victory.

Guard Svi Mykhailiuk hit five 3-pointers and scored 22 to lead the Jayhawks, who improved to 18-4 and 7-2 in conference.

Coming into their home arena with a chance to tie for the conference lead, the Wildcats lost to the rival Jayhawks for the second time this season and fell to 16-6 and 5-4.

Kansas coach Bill Self pointed out a few statistical oddities in his team’s 40-27 burst to the first-half lead.

“If you’re going to be up 13 on the road, have 12 turnovers and go 6 for 13 from the foul line, you wouldn’t think that would be the case,” Self told the Associated Press. “Somehow we were able to keep the lead and win both halves.”

Wildcats forward Dean Wade had 20 points and eight rebounds but guard Barry Brown, the team’s leading scorer, struggled with 4 for 16 shooting.

Averaging 17.3 points coming in, Brown finished with nine as K-State’s four-game winning streak came to an end.

Kansas beat Kansas State 73-72 in Lawrence on Jan. 3.

“I told the guys we had to play better than we did in Lawrence, because they’re a great road team,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “They have good poise. They understand each other, their roles. I expected them to come at us and they did.”

Kansas guards Devonte’ Graham and Malik Newman both posted double doubles to aid the Jayhawks.

Graham had 16 points and 11 assists. Newman came alive offensively in the second half and finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Big 12 race

Kansas leads at 7-2. Texas Tech, Oklahoma and West Virginia trail at 5-3. Kansas State is 5-4 and Texas 4-4.