April 3 (UPI) — Sophomore guard Donte DiVincenzo scored a game-high 31 points off the bench in Villanova’s 79-62 win against Michigan in the men’s college basketball title game Monday in San Antonio.
“I did not think that I was going to have this kind of night,” DiVincenzo told reporters in his postgame news conference. “Every night I come into the game, I just try to bring energy. If we get off to a good start, I try to take that energy to a new level. I try to defend and I try to rebound to the best of my ability and just try to get it going.”
“These guys did a great job of just finding me and I found myself in a rhythm.”
Moritz Wagner led the Wolverines to a 21-14 lead nine minutes into the game, before the top-seeded Wildcats clawed back onto the court at the Alamodome. Villanova went on a 9-0 run and held Michigan scoreless for more than four minutes, earning a 23-21 lead on a DiVincenzo 3-pointer with 6:08 remaining in the opening act.
No. 3 Michigan tried to fight back, but DiVencenzo kept hitting shot-after-shot to keep the Wildcats on top. Villanova built up a 37-28 lead at the break. The Wildcats led despite starting the game 1-for-8 from 3-point range.
“Early, we weren’t prepared for some of the things they were doing,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said after the game. “They jumped on us…We kinda got settled in after that and did a good job defensively.”
Eric Paschall’s 3 pointer just 1:07 minutes into the next frame put the Wildcats up 42-30. Villanova pushed that lead to 22 points in the second half and ran away with its second championship in three years.
Mikal Bridges chipped in 19 points for Villanova. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 23 points for Michigan. Wagner had 16 points and seven rebounds in the loss.
“They just adjusted I think. I came out very aggressive and tried to do my job,” Wagner told reporters after the game.
“…They played the drive better. I guess I wasn’t as aggressive anymore. Turned it over…you’ve gotta give them a lot of credit. They are a really good team defensively. If they play like that, it’s really hard to beat them.”
Villanova shot 47.4 percent from the field and 37 percent from 3-point range in the win. Michigan made just 3-of-23 shots from downtown in the defeat.