Upset Alert: Villanova In Tight Battle With West Virginia

The biggest Cinderella team remaining in March Madness continued their run with an inspired comeback and one huge shot

Villanova's poise and leadership and barrage of timely shooting ultimately made the top seed in the NCAA Tournament's East Region unshakable, and still the favorite to take home its second national title in three years, following a 90-78 win Friday night over fifth-seeded West Virginia at TD Garden. No.1 Kansas takes on No.5 Clemson, while No.1 Villanova will face No.5 West Virginia.

Jevon Carter and Sagaba Konate each at 12 points to lead West Virginia. After West Virginia ousted Marshall this past Sunday, Mountaineers' assistant coach Ronnie Everhart offered a daunting scouting report of his team's upcoming opponent.

West Virginia's six-point lead would soon vanish with an 11-0 run from Villanova as the Wildcats took a 65-60 lead.

"What a game, man". "That was the most physically demanding, mentally demanding 40 minutes we've played in a long time", winning coach Jay Wright said. However, Villanova responded by hitting a barrage of threes to get past the Mountaineers. After West Virginia easily took care of in-state rival Marshall in the second round behind Carter's 28 points, five assists, four rebounds and five steals, the Wildcats knew they would be facing one of their most hard defensive challenges of the season.

Carter was called for his third with 17:33 left in the game.

West Virginia adjusted for a while, taking advantage of a more than three-minute Villanova scoring drought to take a 60-54 edge with just over 11 minutes left.

Then again, Villanova also can wear down an opponent with its depth, speed, shooting and defense. As of Friday morning, the Wildcats are getting 72 percent of the wagers on this game as the favorite against West Virginia. SN Player of the Year Jalen Brunson led the Wildcats with a game-high 27 points on 8-for-15 shooting followed by Omari Spellman (18), Mikal Bridges (16) and Eric Paschall (14).

It is not just the press that makes West Virginia's defense so effective.

After 20 minutes, it's Villanova 44, West Virginia 42.

The Red Raiders are into the regional final for the first time in program history after dominating 2-seed Purdue 78-65 in the last round. The Wildcats coasted in their first two games of the tournament, crushing both Radford and Alabama in impressive fashion.

Villanova will play the victor of the regional semi-final later Friday night between No2 seed Purdue and third-seeded Texas Tech for a spot in the Final Four. Five Jayhawks have at least six first-half points, including Udoka Azubike, who leads the way with 10 points and six rebounds.




Texas Tech trailed by as many as seven points in the first half. Purdue got it down to one early in the second but the Red Raiders never surrendered the lead.

The team that's been led by Player of the Year candidate Jalen Brunson got off to rocky start against WVU's press despite the experience of the team's guards.

The Boilermakers (30-7) were playing in their second straight regional semifinal. The Mountaineers are trying to get to the Elite Eight for the first time since their Final Four run in 2010.

The Blue Devils have also dropped two of three to the conference rival Orange, who ride a three-game SU win streak and reached the Final Four as a No. 10 seed in 2016.

Purdue's 7-foot-2 standout Isaac Haas is hoping to get in the game against Texas Tech, thanks to an arm brace quickly engineered by grad students in hopes of meeting NCAA safety standards.

The point guard was absolutely dominant for Villanova in their Sweet 16 matchup.

"I think Clemson's overrated", he said.

DAXTER MILES: Yeah, like Jevon said, we just love playing basketball. Graham's offensive rebound after a Svi Mykhailiuk miss at the 1:57 mark allowed the Jayhawks to run nearly a minute off the clock.

This could be one of the better games of the weekend. But Shelton Mitchell and Gabe DeVoe each missed from beyond the arc. "It wasn't a matter of fear like, 'Don't let it happen to us.' It's just: You just have to respect these teams".

"The deeper you go, the better the teams are going to be", Brunson said.

"I just saw the opportunity for the block, I got the rebound and I just tried to outlet it".

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