clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

March Madness bracket 2016: Villanova holds off Kansas, reaches 1st Final 4 since 2009

The Jayhawks gave everything they had down the stretch, but early mistakes doomed them against Villanova. The Wildcats move on to the Final Four for the first time since 2009.

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

* * *

Greatest Cinderella: Was it the NC State Wolfpack or Butler Bulldogs?

Be sure to subscribe to SB Nation's YouTube channel for highlight videos, features, analysis and more