Ryan Arcidiacono and Kris Jenkins scored 21 points each, and Villanova rode some insane shooting to the Elite Eight with a record-setting 92-69 win over Miami in the South Regional semifinals at the KFC Yum! Center.
Jenkins made five of six three-point attempts, including a 35-footer in the first half and a dagger trey with 8:03 to go that nudged Villanova’s lead up to 14 points. He was 8 for 10 overall from the field.[[373519801, C]]
Jenkins has made 10 of 17 three-point attempts so far in three NCAA Tournament games and Arcidiacono has made 10 of 16.
Daniel Ochefu missed several minutes in the second half after appearing to aggravate his ankle but came back strong and dominated in the paint with 17 points on 7 for 11 from the field, much of it against Miami’s 7-foot Tonye Jekiri.
Josh Hart overcame early foul trouble to score 14 points.
No. 2 seed Villanova withstood some incredible first-half shooting by No. 3 seed Miami – 67 percent from the field, 64 percent from three-point range – and pulled away in the second half, outscoring Miami 8-2 to open the half and take a 12-point lead.
Villanova’s shooting was insane – 32 for 51 from the field (63 percent), 10 for 15 from 3 (67 percent) and 18 for 19 from the foul line (95 percent).
The Wildcats have made 33 of 62 shots from three-point range so far in the tournament for a mind-blowing 53 percent.
Arcidiacono scored 13 of his 15 points in the first nine minutes, and the Wildcats built a 15-point lead at 29-14 with 8½ minutes to go.
They did it with Hart, their leading scorer, on the bench after he picked up two fouls five seconds apart in the game’s first 2½ minutes.
But some torrid Miami shooting got the Hurricanes back in the game. Miami made four threes in 109 seconds to reduce that 15-point lead to three with 6½ minutes left in the first half.
In the first half, Miami shot 67 percent (14 for 21) and 64 percent from downtown (7 for 11), and Villanova shot 64 percent (16 for 25) and 75 percent from three-point range (6 for 8).
So the two teams combined to make 30 of 46 shots and 13 of 19 threes before halftime.
Villanova improved to 32-5 and reached its 13th Elite Eight (although the 1971 trip was later vacated by the the NCAA) and third in the last 11 years under Jay Wright.
Villanova improved to 94-13 over the past three years and its .879 winning percentage is best in NCAA Division I in that span.
The Wildcats have now won back-to-back games against teams seeded No. 7 and No. 3 after losing six straight NCAA Tournament games against teams seeded 14th or better going back to 2010.
Stat of the day
The 23-point margin of victory is the biggest in tournament history over a team seeded No. 3 or higher in a regional final or semifinal.
Look at the first three minutes. Villanova built an 8-0 lead on a jumper by Jenkins, a three by Arcidiacono and a three by Jalen Brunson. Miami never recovered.
By the numbers
Villanova outrebounded Miami 26-17 … The Wildcats committed just eight turnovers, one intentional with 3.7 seconds left. … Darryl Reynolds had eight points and four rebounds off the bench for ‘Nova. … Jenkins, Ochefu and Arcidiacono combined to shoot 22 for 31 from the field. … Sheldon McClellan scored a game-high 26 points for Miami, but Angel Rodriguez (13) was Miami’s only other scorer in double figures.
Villanova advanced to the NCAA Tournament South Region championship game scheduled for Saturday back here at the KFC Yum! Center. Gametime has not yet been announced.
Villanova will face the winner of the game later Thursday night between No. 1 seed Kansas and No. 5 seed Maryland.