David McCormack blasted his way to 25 points, Ochai Agbaji was nearly perfect from the field and added 21 points, and hot-shooting Kansas built a big early lead before holding off every Villanova run for an 81-65 win. on Saturday night that sent the Jayhawks. back to the national title game.
Christian Braun also scored 10 points, including a key 3-pointer to prevent a late-game comeback, as the Jayhawks (33-6) got some revenge for the Wildcats’ Final Four loss four years ago in San Antonio. .
Now, they hope to follow a familiar pattern against Duke or North Carolina on Monday night. The last three times the Jayhawks and Wildcats met in the tournament, the winner went on to cut the nets.
Playing without injured guard Justin Moore, Villanova (31-7) saw the only No. 1 seed to reach the semifinals score the first 10 points of the game and eventually build a 19-point cushion. And despite big nights from Collin Gillespie, Brandon Slater and Jermaine Samuels, the shorthanded and undersized Wildcats never managed to come back.
Gillespie, playing in his 156th game for the Wildcats, hit five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points, while Slater hit four 3-pointers and had 16 points. Samuels finished with 13 points in the final game of his college career.