DiVincenzo makes it rain; Nova tops Michigan 79-62 for title - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

DiVincenzo makes it rain; Nova tops Michigan 79-62 for title

Posted: Updated:
Villanova fans cheer before the championship game against Michigan in the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 2, 2018, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) Villanova fans cheer before the championship game against Michigan in the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 2, 2018, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Villanova's Mikal Bridges (25) dunks during the second half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball semifinal game against Oklahoma, Saturday, April 2, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) Villanova's Mikal Bridges (25) dunks during the second half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball semifinal game against Oklahoma, Saturday, April 2, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Villanova's Jalen Brunson (1), Mikal Bridges (25) and their teammates celebrate after the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game against North Carolina, Monday, April 4, 2016, in Houston. Villanova won 77-74. (AP Photo/David J. Ph Villanova's Jalen Brunson (1), Mikal Bridges (25) and their teammates celebrate after the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game against North Carolina, Monday, April 4, 2016, in Houston. Villanova won 77-74. (AP Photo/David J. Ph

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — When he wasn't dribbling behind his back, winking to the TV announcers, stuffing shots or dishing out assists, Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo was making it rain.

First, 3-pointers.

Later on, confetti.

The redhead kid with the nickname Big Ragu came off the bench to score 31 points Monday and lift 'Nova to another blowout tournament victory — this time 79-62 over Michigan for its second title in three seasons.

The sophomore guard had 12 points and an assist during a first-half run to help the Wildcats (36-4) pull ahead, then scored nine straight for Villanova midway through the second to snuff out the Wolverines. He capped the second shooting skein with a 3-pointer from a step behind the arc. He punctuated it with a knowing wink over to the sideline, where TV announcers Jim Nantz and Bill Raftery were sitting.

Yep, he knew he could do it. And his teammates were more than willing to let him steal the show.

"If someone's hot, feed 'em," said Jalen Brunson, the national Player of the Year, who finished with nine points and was perfectly fine with playing a supporting role on this night.

Villanova won all six games by double digits over this tournament run, joining Michigan State (2000), Duke (2001) and North Carolina (2009) in that rare air.

The last team to win its two Final Four games by 16 or more: UCLA in 1968. During the dynasty.

One key question: Does Jay Wright's team belong on the list of the best of all-time?

Maybe so, considering the way Villanova dismantled everyone in front of it in a tournament that was dripping with upsets, underdogs and at least the appearance of parity.

Maybe so, considering the Wildcats won in seemingly every way imaginable. This victory came two nights after they set a Final Four record with 18 3-pointers (they had 10 in this one), and one week after they relied more on defense in a win over Texas Tech in the Elite Eight.

"We don't really look at it that way," Wright said. "We don't look at it as, did we just dominate that team? No. We played well."

And really, that debate's for later.

DiVincenzo squashed any questions about this game with a 10-for-15 shooting night — 5 for 7 from 3 —that was, frankly, better than that. He was a no-doubt winner of the Final Four's most outstanding player award.

With Michigan refusing to go away early in the second half, he opened his game-sealing run with an around-the-back dribble to get to the hoop and get fouled. On the other end, he delivered a two-handed rejection of Michigan's Charles Matthews — his second block of the game, to go with five rebounds and three assists — when Matthews tried to bring it into the paint.

The 3 that sealed it came from a big step behind the arc and gave Villanova a 62-44 lead with 7:58 left.

"Honestly, I didn't look at the score at all," DiVincenzo said. "I didn't know how many points I had, I didn't know any of that. I was just trying to make the right play. And Omari (Spellman) was setting unbelievable screens for me getting me open. And I was just feeling it."

About the only drama at the end was whether DiVincenzo could unwrap himself from his teammates' mob hug to toss the ball underhanded toward the scoreboard after the buzzer. He succeeded there, too.

"Sometimes I think about whether I'm a good defender, because in practice, he makes me look bad," said junior Mikal Bridges, who likely made this his final audition for the NBA with a 19-point night on 7-for-12 shooting.

What a couple of months it's been for Philly. First the Eagles. Now this. The Super Bowl, though, was a classic. This one was only beautiful to one team.

Michigan (33-8) came out playing tough-nosed defense it relied on over a 14-game winning streak that got the Wolverines to their second final in six years.

Moe Wagner scored 11 early points to continue his great play in the Final Four. Villanova started 1 for 9 from 3-point range. And yet, after DiVincenzo banged down a 3 from a step behind the arc for Villanova's second of the night, coach John Beilein looked at the scoreboard and saw his team behind, 23-21.

"The way DiVincenzo shot the ball, it was just incredible for us to try to win that game with the roll he went on," the coach said.

If his first 3 wasn't demoralizing enough, DiVincenzo made another, then took a bounce pass from Brunson for a dunk, then paid it forward with an assist to Spellman. It was part of a 23-7 run that gave the Wildcats a nine-point lead at halftime; they never looked back.

For the record, DiVincenzo competed hard for a starting spot this year, but didn't win it. He made the best of it as a sixth man. Wright waited all of 52 seconds in the second half to get him back on the floor.

"It just shows how much depth we have, and that we don't care who gets the credit," Brunson said.

Though he didn't play in the 2016 Final Four, DiVincenzo got his fair share for that title, too.

His season cut short because of a knee injury, he was healthy enough to run the scout squad for Villanova during its first title run. Some on the team said he was better at doing Oklahoma star Buddy Hield than Hield himself.

But maybe a more apt comparison is to ... Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?

DiVincenzo joins them in the rare club of players to crack 30 points while also shooting better than 66 percent from the floor in a Final Four game.

___

  • SportsMore>>

  • Ultimate Pigskin Picks

    Ultimate Pigskin Picks

    CBS 8 invite you to play along with other San Diego football fans each week and pick the winners!  See how you do against News 8's Sports Director, Kyle Kraska and win weekly prizes!

     

    CBS 8 invite you to play along with other San Diego football fans each week and pick the winners!  See how you do against News 8's Sports Director, Kyle Kraska and win weekly prizes!

     
  • Duke leapfrogs Kansas for No. 1 in latest AP Top 25 poll

    Duke leapfrogs Kansas for No. 1 in latest AP Top 25 poll

    Monday, November 12 2018 12:42 PM EST2018-11-12 17:42:47 GMT
    Tuesday, November 13 2018 1:05 AM EST2018-11-13 06:05:52 GMT
    (AP Photo/Gerry Broome). Duke's Zion Williamson (1) looks toward the basket while Army's Tommy Funk (3) defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018.(AP Photo/Gerry Broome). Duke's Zion Williamson (1) looks toward the basket while Army's Tommy Funk (3) defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018.
    Duke has leapfrogged Kansas at No. 1 in the new AP Top 25 poll after its dominating win against Kentucky to set a record for most appearances at the top. 
    Duke has leapfrogged Kansas at No. 1 in the new AP Top 25 poll after its dominating win against Kentucky to set a record for most appearances at the top. 
  • It's done: Jimmy Butler trade to Philadelphia completed

    It's done: Jimmy Butler trade to Philadelphia completed

    Monday, November 12 2018 1:18 PM EST2018-11-12 18:18:31 GMT
    Tuesday, November 13 2018 1:05 AM EST2018-11-13 06:05:49 GMT
    (AP Photo/Steve Yeater). Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler (23) battles for position against Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield (24) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Nov. 9, 2018.(AP Photo/Steve Yeater). Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler (23) battles for position against Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield (24) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Nov. 9, 2018.
    Jimmy Butler trade to 76ers finalized, sending him to join Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons on a likely contender. 
    Jimmy Butler trade to 76ers finalized, sending him to join Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons on a likely contender. 
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KFMB-TV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.