Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Villanova Ousts Kansas in Rough-and-Tumble Game

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Villanova Ousts Kansas in Rough-and-Tumble Game

Article excerpt

LOUISVILLE, Ky. * Kris Jenkins made two free throws with 13.3 seconds remaining, Jalen Brunson added two more with 3.5 seconds left and second-seeded Villanova upset top-seeded Kansas 64-59 on Saturday night in the NCAA Tournament South Region final to reach the Final Four.

Mikal Bridges and Josh Hart each made big steals in the final minute to help the Wildcats (33-5) pull off the upset and end the Jayhawks' winning streak at 17 games. The Wildcats are back in the Final Four for the first time since 2009, and they can credit balanced scoring and ferocious defense for sending them into a matchup against Oklahoma next Saturday in Houston.

Jenkins, Hart and Ryan Arcidiacono each scored 13 points for the Wildcats, who used a 10-0 run to take a 50-45 lead. They then got key baskets and plays down the stretch in beating the Jayhawks (33- 5), who were the top seed in the entire NCAA Tournament, in a gritty game.

Devonte' Graham had 17 points, and Frank Mason III and Wayne Selden Jr. added 16 each for Kansas.

Villanova got 10 points from Daniel Ochefu, including a big jumper with 6:14 left, just one of many big plays the Wildcats made to preserve the lead after finally wresting it from Kansas.

"We're very disappointed and certainly feel like that we probably didn't play our best tonight, compared to how we played over the last two months," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "But give Villanova credit. They had a lot to do with that.

"I've been involved in, I think, eight of these, and only won two of them. And it's without question the hardest game in the tournament to lose. And certainly our kids and our seniors have done an unbelievable job putting us in position to be in the game, in the moment. I'd much rather be in the game than not in the game. Sometimes you just come up short.

"But it wasn't from a lack of effort or lack of focus or lack of concentration. It was just one of those nights where things didn't go our way."

It wasn't easy for Villanova.

Mason scored five points and the Jayhawks cut their deficit to 60- 59 with 15 seconds left. But Jenkins and Brunson followed with two free throws each as the Wildcats made 18 of 19 at the line and all eight in the final 33 seconds. …

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