Kansas get their revenge, defeat Villanova in the Final Four Rematch

The day finally came, the rematch that everyone was waiting for, Kansas vs Villanova. For months, both teams waited for this game to prove their dominance and it did not disappoint. This game definitely lived up to its expectations, with a combination of crowd energy and non stop great team play by both teams. Unlike the last time these two teams played, this game was a close one from start to finish, but it was the Jayhawks this time coming away with the victory 74-71.

The first half was basically determined on scoring runs by both teams. KU started it off, jumping out to a 8-1 lead, then Villanova came right back with a 12-0 run of their own. Kansas then went on 11-0 run to take a 6 point lead. Besides questionable officiating, there wasn’t much excitement in the first 10 minutes, with Kansas leading 16-13 thanks to 8 from Dedric Lawson. Quentin Grimes, who the Jayhawks have been waiting to break out, was forced to sit most of the half due to 3 quick fouls.

The second ten minutes of the first half were a lot more exciting, with both teams trading buckets throughout the game, not allowing their opponent to pull away. Collin Gillespie scored the last 8 points of the half for the Wildcats and cut the lead down to just 2; 33-31 Jayhawks. Paschall and Gillespie led the way in scoring scoring 9 points each. Phil Booth also had 8 for Villanova. For Kansas, Dedric Lawson continued to be his dominant self, scoring 14 points and grabbing 5 rebounds. Lagerald Vick, who has been cold since he hit the game tying three against Stanford two weeks ago, looked much better tonight scoring 10 first half points.

As has been the case many times this season, Dedric Lawson and Lagerald Vick took it upon themselves to lead this team. The two of them scored every single point but two for Kansas in the first 17 minutes of the second half. Despite their dominance, Villanova’s balanced scoring kept this game close, with the score at 48 each with 11 minutes remaining. This game was edge of your seat exciting, with each possession making fans hold their breaths. Neither team took higher than a three point lead for the majority of the second half, but like every game at Allen Fieldhouse, the crowd’s energy gave the Jayhawks the boost they needed. A stepback jumper by Dedric Lawson with 3:38 left gave them a 5 point lead, but it wasn’t enough to put them away. The last minute was ridiculous, no matter how hard Kansas tried to put the game away, Villanova would respond. In the end, there just wasn’t enough time left, and the Jayhawks won a nail biter 74-71.

Phil Booth had a terrific game today, scoring 29 for the Wildcats. Eric Paschall added 17 points, but fouled out late in the game. As mentioned earlier, it was all Dedric Lawson and Lagerald Vick in this one, combing to score 57 of the Jayhawks 74 points, with Dedric scoring 28 and grabbing 12 rebounds and Lagerald with 29 points.

Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright joked around, saying he was thankful that Azubuike wasn’t out there today because he doesn’t think his team would be able to guard both him and Lawson. He also had high praise for Phil Booth, calling him a leader and someone to always rely on in the game.

Dedric Lawson admitted he got injured mid game, saying he jammed his finger. He assured everyone that it wasn’t a big deal and that he is fine now.

Marcus Garrett has slowly started to take more three pointers during games, so I asked him if he plans on incorporating this more into his game. He said “I’m working on it”, and that Coach Self wants him to take them if he’s open.

A few notables from this game:

  1. Villanova G Jahvon Quinerly was a healthy scratch tonight. A top 30 recruit last year, Quinerly showed his disappointment on his social media. Something to keep an eye on is whether he decides to transfer, and if other recruits from this year choose not to sign with Villanova now.
  2. Kansas needs a third scorer. With Azubuike out, they need to find a third option behind Dedric Lawson and Lagerald Vick. Dotson looked like he could be an option late in the game, and if Quentin Grimes lives up to his potential he could be that guy for the Jayhawks as well.
  3. 9-0, two wins against top 10 teams, and 4 wins against top 25 teams. Don’t look at the scoreboard, Kansas is legit.
  4. Villanova can still be a threat in the long run. They might not have the best record, and their resume is very weak, but they proved today that they have what it takes compete with a top tier opponent.

Kansas will look to stay undefeated Tuesday against South Dakota, and Villanova will attempt to end their two game losing streak next Saturday against Uconn.

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