DiVincenzo makes it rain; Nova tops Michigan for title


David J. Phillip/ AP Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo, right, celebrates with his colleagues after the championship game of the Final 4 NCAA college basketball tournament versus Michigan, Monday, April 2, 2018, in San Antonio. Villanova won 79-62.

Published Monday, April 2, 2018|8:35 p.m.

Updated Monday, April 2, 2018|11:20 p.m.

SAN ANTONIO– When he wasn’t dribbling behind his back, winking to the TV commentators, packing shots or dishing out helps, Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo was making it rain.

First, 3-pointers.

Later on, confetti.

The redhead kid with the label Huge Ragu came off the bench to make five 3s and score 31 points Monday to lift ‘Nova to another blowout victory in the NCAA Tournament– this time 79-62 over Michigan for its 2nd national title in three seasons.

The sophomore guard had 12 points and an assist throughout a first-half go to help the Wildcats (36-4) pull ahead, then scored 9 straight for Villanova midway through the second to off the Wolverines. He topped the second shooting skein with a 3-pointer from a step behind the arc. He punctuated it with an understanding wink over to the sideline, where TELEVISION 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 take the program.

” If somebody’s hot, feed ’em,” stated Jalen Brunson, the national Player of the Year, who completed with nine points and was completely fine with playing a supporting role on this night.

In taking the program’s 3rd general title, Villanova won all six video games by double digits over this competition run, signing up with Michigan State (2000 ), Duke (2001) and North Carolina (2009) because rare air.

The last team to win its two Final 4 video games by 16 or more: UCLA in 1968. During the dynasty.

One crucial question: Does Jay Wright’s group belong on the list of the best of all-time?

Perhaps so, thinking about the method Villanova dismantled everybody in front of it in a competition that was dripping with upsets, underdogs and at least the appearance of parity.

Perhaps so, thinking about the Wildcats won in seemingly every method you can possibly imagine. This success came 2 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 8.

” We do not truly look at it that way,” Wright stated. “We do not look at it as, did we just control that team? No. We played well.”

And actually, that dispute’s for later on.

DiVincenzo compressed any concerns about this video game with a 10-for-15 shooting night– 5 for 7 from 3– that was, honestly, better than that. He was a no-doubt winner of the Final 4’s most-outstanding-player award.

With Michigan attempting to remain in striking variety early in the 2nd 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 5 rebounds and three assists– when Matthews tried to bring it into the paint.

The 3 that capped things off came from a big action behind the arc and provided Villanova a 62-44 lead with 7:58 left.

” Honestly, I didn’t look at ball game at all,” DiVincenzo said. “I didn’t know how many points I had. I didn’t know any of that. I was just aiming to make the ideal play. And Omari (Spellman) was setting incredible screens for me getting me open. And I was simply feeling it.”

About the only drama at the end was whether DiVincenzo might unwrap himself from his colleagues’ mob hug to hurl the ball underhanded toward the rafters after the buzzer. He was successful there, too.

” Often I think about whether I’m an excellent protector, since in practice, he makes me look bad,” stated junior Mikal Bridges, who likely made this his last audition for the NBA with a 19-point night on 7-for-12 shooting.

Exactly what a number of months it’s been for Philly. First the Eagles. Now this. The Super Bowl, however, was a timeless. This one was just gorgeous 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 2nd final in six years.

Moe Wagner scored 11 early indicate pick up where he left off in a controling performance in the semifinal. Villanova began 1 for 9 from 3-point variety. But, after DiVincenzo banged down a 3 from an action 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 simply incredible for us to try to win that video game with the roll he went on,” the coach stated.

If his very first 3 wasn’t demoralizing enough, DiVincenzo made another, then took a bounce pass from Brunson for a dunk, then paid it forward with a help to Spellman. It belonged to a 23-7 run that provided the Wildcats a nine-point lead at halftime; they never ever looked back.

DiVincenzo competed hard for a beginning area this year, but didn’t win it. He made the best of it as a 6th guy. Wright waited all of 52 seconds in the second half to get him back on the flooring.

” It just shows how much depth we have, which we do not care who gets the credit,” Brunson said.

Though he didn’t play in the 2016 Last Four, DiVincenzo got his fair share of credit for that title, too.

His season interrupted due to the fact that of a knee injury, he was healthy sufficient to run the scout squad for Villanova. Some on the group said he was better at doing Oklahoma star Friend Hield than Hield himself.

However perhaps a more apt comparison is to … Costs Walton and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?

DiVincenzo joins them in the uncommon club of players to split 30 points while also shooting better than 66 percent from the floor in a Last 4 video game.

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