Villanova Wins Mens’ National Title

The Wildcats Cut Down the Nets

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(Charles Fox/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

Villanova's Ryan Arcidiacono celebrates his team's win with Phil Booth and Mikal Bridges on Monday, April 4, 2016, at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Matthew Leto, Staff Writer

Coming into the game, North Carolina was looking to capture the program’s 6th national title with the last championship coming in 2009. Villanova came in looking to win their second national title, the last coming in 1985.

Villanova was down early at halftime, but made the necessary adjustments to capture the title with a 77-74 victory. The Wildcats junior, Kris Jenkins hit the game winning 3 pointer as time expired. The Wildcats sophomore, Phil Booth scored 20 points and led the team , while the Tar Heels senior Marcus Paige led all scorers with 21 points.

From the tip-off, the Wildcats and Tar Heels exchanged scores back in forth in the first five minutes 9-9. The Wildcats were looking to open up the game by taking an early five point lead, the largest deficit they had faced in the entire tournament. The Tar Heel’s senior Brice Johnson powered down a fierce dunk,while drawing a foul, that led to cutting Villanova’s lead down to two with twelve minutes remaining in the first half.

The Tar Heels began to turn the tables late in the first half,  with 7 of 9 shooting from the 3 point line and benefited from a late 11-4 run to retake the lead. Led by sophomore Joel Berry who shot 3 for 3 from beyond the 3 point line.

The Tar Heels closed the first half 39-34, shooting 77 percent from beyond the 3 point line and winning the boards off the glass 15-9.The Wildcats strong defense kept the game close only trailing by 5. Berry’s 6 of 7 shooting totaling 15 points led the Tar Heels at the half while foul trouble limited the Wildcats  Jenkins to just 6 points at the break.

Coming into the 2nd half, the Tar Heels looked unstoppable, firing on all cylinders, until the press of the Wildcats defense was unveiled . They forced five critical turnovers in the second half, and totaled eleven for the game.The Wildcats had a strong contribution from Phil Booth down the stretch.

The Tar Heels were down with 6 points with under 2 minutes left to play. senior Marcus Paige  drilled a 3 pointer that even legend Michael Jordan rose from his seats with disbelief, with just under a few seconds left in the game.The clutch three by Paige tied the game 74-74. senior Ryan Arcidiacono handed the ball to Kris Jenkins with  3 seconds left, and Jenkins drilled the game winning shot to bring the title back to Villanova.

Students like junior Edwin Ross tuned in to watch this historic game for the ages.

“I was rooting for North Carolina to win,” said Ross.  “I enjoyed the last two minutes especially Marcus Paige’s 3 pointer  late to tie and it was a heartbreaking loss, but it was an exciting game to watch.”

 

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