SAN ANTONIO – There would be no miracle this time around for Kansas in San Antonio. Villanova made sure of that early.
The Wildcats pounced on the Jayhawks from the start and never looked back in a record-setting performance in the second NCAA Men’s Final Four game on Saturday night at the Alamodome.
The Wildcats advanced to their second title game in three years by beating Kansas, 95-79.
They will play Michigan -- winners of the first semifinal game over the tournament’s Cinderella team Loyola-Chicago -- in the championship game on Monday night.
Villanova made 18 3-pointers, 13 alone in the first half alone, to break the NCAA record for most three-pointers made in a Final Four game.
“That happens sometimes when you’re a good shooting team and when you start that way, it’s not that Kansas wasn’t going to try to come back, but it just doesn’t happen that way,” said Villanova head coach Jay Wright.
Eric Paschall scored 24 points to lead the Wildcats while point guard Jalen Brunson added 18 points and six assists for Villanova.
“It just feels good. My teammates found me some good shots. They trust me and my coaches trust me and that gives me confidence," said Paschall. "It just feels good to keep playing.”
For Kansas, history would not repeat itself in the Alamo City.
The Jayhawks won the school’s last national championship in 2008 inside the Alamodome when Mario Chalmers hit a game-tying shot against Memphis to send the game into overtime. They wouldn’t get remotely close to getting that opportunity again.
The Wildcats led 22-4 seven minutes into the first half before Kansas went on a quick run to cut the lead to 22-11.
The 11-point difference would be the closest Kansas would get the rest of the game.
"Give Villanova credit. They were unbelievable. We knew going in that we were probably going to have to hope that they were going to miss some," said Kansas head coach Bill Self. "But then after we got discombobulated we were never able to recover."
Villanova took a 47-32 lead into the half and led by as many as 22 points in the second half.
The Jayhawks were led by senior Devonte’ Graham, who scored 23 points in his final collegiate game.
"For our kids to put themselves in a situation to be here and to win the league and the league tournament and get to the Final Four is really a great accomplishment," said Self. "I hate it for them that obviously we didn’t perform better today."
Kansas shot 45 percent from the floor and only 33 percent from 3-point range compared to Villanova’s 45 percent from 3-point range and 55 percent overall.
“Just a catch and shoot mentality. Shoot ‘em up from the streets is what we live by. We will just keep doing what we do – defend, rebound, run and execute,” said Villanova forward Omari Spellman, who had 15 points and 13 rebounds.
It was simply a supernova night for the Wildcats in San Antonio, that Kansas could do nothing to stop.