SAN ANTONIO — Jermaine Samuels had 16 factors and 10 rebounds as Villanova superior to its third NCAA Last 4 within the final six NCAA Tournaments with a grind-it-out 50-44 victory over Houston within the South Area ultimate Saturday.
Caleb Daniels added 12 factors for the Wildcats (30-7), and fifth-year senior Collin Gillespie’s solely made subject aim was a clutch shot late.
With each groups prepared to restrict possessions, the primary spot for this 12 months’s Last 4 in New Orleans was settled in a recreation that was ugly to observe with all of the missed photographs.
Villanova shot 28.8 p.c from the sector (15 of 52). The Cougars have been solely barely higher at 29.8% (17 of 57), lacking their final 5 photographs and 10 of 11 general, they usually made solely one in all their of 20 tried 3-pointers.
The Wildcats and coach Jay Wright received’t complain as he seeks so as to add a 3rd nationwide title to those he received in 2016 and 2018. Villanova will play both Kansas, the one No. 1 seed remaining, or Tenth-seeded Miami within the Last 4 subsequent Saturday in New Orleans because it seeks its fourth championship general.
Taze Moore had 15 factors and 10 rebounds for the Cougars (32-6), who have been denied making consecutive Last 4 appearances for the primary time since 1982-84 through the Phil Slama Jama period. The beginning 5 was utterly modified from final season, together with Moore and two different senior newcomers.
After Villanova missed three photographs on the identical possession — and was nonetheless with none second-chance factors within the recreation — Moore acquired the lengthy rebound on the break. After initially slowing issues down, Moore scored on a drive in opposition to Gillespie, getting Houston inside 42-40 with 5:25 left.
It was the closest the Cougars had been within the recreation at AT&T Middle, solely about 200 miles from their campus, and the group was in a loud frenzy when Wright referred to as timeout. They by no means acquired an opportunity to take the lead.
Gillespie, who performed within the nationwide championship recreation for the Wildcats in 2018, was 1-of-6 taking pictures. However his solely subject aim got here on the possession after the timeout when he stepped contained in the 3-point line and hit a jumper with 5:02 left.
There was a virtually two-minute scoring drought earlier than Justin Moore made two free throws, with a foul by J’Wan Roberts bailing out the Wildcats with the shot clock about to expire. These have been their solely second-chance factors in your complete recreation.
Villanova had scored the primary 5 factors of the sport, together with a 3-pointer by Samuels on the primary shot.
Villanova’s Moore suffered a decrease leg damage when he slipped whereas dribbling within the ultimate minute of the sport and was on crutches through the Wildcats’ postgame celebration.