North Carolina & Villanova Win, Will Play for National Title Monday
North Carolina and Villanova each won their respective Final Four games in Houston on Saturday to advance to Monday night's national championship. Here's a recap of the day's action:
North Carolina 83, Syracuse 66
Marcus Paige made three key three-point shots in the final 10 minutes of the game, and North Carolina beat Syracuse, 83-66, at the NCAA men’s Final Four in Houston on Saturday. The win allowed the Tar Heels (32-6) to advance to Monday's NCAA title game to face Villanova for the national championship.
East Regional champion-North Carolina took a 39-28 halftime lead despite a cold-shooting first half, which included 0-for-9 from the three-point line. The Midwest Regional champion-Orange (23-14) narrowed the deficit to 57-50 on Malachi Richardson’s three-pointer with just under 10 minutes left, but Paige immediately answered with a three of his own — his team's first of the game — as the Tar Heels methodically pulled away. Paige finished with 13 points.
Brice Johnson scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds for North Carolina. Justin Jackson added 16 points. Kennedy Meeks had 15 points and eight rebounds. The Tar Heels had a 43-31 rebounding advantage over Syracuse to key the win.
Trevor Cooney scored 22 points to lead the 10th-seeded Orange, whose Cinderella season ended two wins short of the national title.
Villanova 95, Oklahoma 51
Josh Hart scored 23 points, and Villanova crushed Oklahoma in record-setting fashion, 95-51, at the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four in Houston on Saturday.
The easy win, which set a record for margin of victory in the national semifinals, allowed the sharp-shooting Wildcats (34-5) to advance to Monday's national championship game, where they will face North Carolina for the title.
South Region champ Villanova shot a blistering 67 percent in the first half, as they raced out to a 42-28 halftime lead over the Sooners (29-8).
West Region champs Oklahoma rallied briefly in the second half, closing to within nine points, 46-37, with just over 16 minutes to play. However, 'Nova coach Jay Wright called a timeout to regroup his team, which gradually pulled away from the Sooners. The Wildcats second-half onslaught included a 25-0 run over eight minutes that cemented the game’s outcome.
Hart was one of six Villanova players in double figures. Kris Jenkins had 18 points and Ryan Arcidiacono chipped in 15.
The margin of victory surpassed the 34-point wins by Cincinnati over Oregon State (1962) and Michigan State over Penn (1979) in the NCAA record books. The Wildcats shot a scalding 71.4 percent from the field for the game.
Jordan Woodard led Oklahoma with 12 points. Sooners All-American guard Buddy Hield became the Big 12's all-time leading scorer with a basket early in the first half, but he finished the game with just nine points. He averaged 25.4 points per game this season