No. 2 Villanova took advantage of early mistakes by No. 1 Kansas to survive and advance, knocking off the top overall seed Jayhawks 64-59 in the Elite Eight. The Wildcats are going to the Final Four for the first time since 2009, and the second time in head coach Jay Wright's 15-year tenure.
With Villanova leading 56-52 at the three-minute mark, the Jayhawks' defense forced a shot clock violation, giving them a chance to get back within one possession. They accomplished that after Wayne Selden Jr. got open for a mid-range jumper, making it 56-54.
Selden had a chance to take the lead for Kansas, but his corner three-point shot wobbled off the rim. The Wildcats' next possession ended with a missed jumper by Josh Hart, but the most bizarre play of the game happened next. Devonte' Graham lost the ball while stumbling to the court, but was called for a kicked ball, his fifth foul of the game. This call took him out of the game and set up Villanova for two free-throw shots, taking a four-point lead.
Kansas wasn't done yet, pulling back to within one when Frank Mason III nailed a three-pointer with 27 seconds left. They tried setting up the full-court press, but Villanova easily broke it and hit its necessary free throws down the stretch to put the Jayhawks away.
The first half started off as a back-and-forth affair, with neither team getting the clear advantage. That was until Kansas went on a scoring drought that spanned around seven minutes, while committing some baffling turnovers. The Wildcats took advantage with a 13-0 run, opening up a 25-16 lead.
The Jayhawks finally started making buckets again, but the damage had been done and Villanova went into halftime with the 32-25 lead. The more worrying sign for Kansas was Perry Ellis' struggles -- the senior finished the first half with zero points and four turnovers.
Kansas finally found a hot shooting hand, rattling off a 15-4 run to start the second half and take the lead back. The Jayhawks led for a long stretch, partly due to out-gunning the Wildcats and partly due to ridiculous shots like this one.
Kansas' run of luck would not last long -- Villanova stormed back once again with a 10-0 run, taking the 50-45 lead at the under-eight media timeout. The Wildcats held the lead down the stretch, with Kansas nipping at their heels all the way to the bitter end.
Four Villanova players finished in double-digit points, with Kris Jenkins, Ryan Arcidiacono and Hart all scoring 13 points. Ellis finishes his Kansas career on a sour note, scoring just four points on 1-of-5 shooting. Graham led the Jayhawks with 17 points before fouling out.
No. 2 Oklahoma 80, No. 1 Oregon 68
No. 2 Villanova 64, No. 1 Kansas 59
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