SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Jermaine Samuels scored 22 points and Villanova controlled Michigan in a 63-55 Sweet 16 victory on Thursday night in the NCAA Tournament.
Samuels’ 8-of-13 shooting performance, much of it coming on tough drives through Michigan defenders and around Dickinson, carried a Wildcats offense that had long stretches of misfiring on 3-pointers.
The second-seeded Wildcats (28-7) advanced to the South Region final to play the winner of Thursday night’s matchup between top seed Arizona and No. 5 seed Houston. It’s the deepest run in the tournament for Villanova since coach Jay Wright won the second of his two national titles in 2018.
The loss ends a turbulent season for the Wolverines (19-15) and coach Juwan Howard, whose team squeaked into the tournament field only to shine in the first two rounds. Howard was suspended for five games late in the season for hitting a Wisconsin assistant during a postgame handshake line.
Villanova twice led by nine in the second half, but the Wolverines matched their 3-point shooting in spurts and make it a contest. Guard Eli Brooks kept rescuing Michigan with 3-pointers, making 3 of 5. One of Brooks’ treys, plus two free throws from Terrance Williams II, had the Wolverines within 54-50 with just over 3 minutes left.
But after Dickinson, who led the Wolverines with 15 points and 15 rebounds, missed near the basket, Samuels blew by him on the other end for a layup. Collin Gillespie followed it with a 3-pointer — his fourth of the game— from the left wing to make it 59-50 with 1:52 to play.
That was the cushion the Wildcats needed, as Michigan closed within six points before Samuels made four three throws over the final 13 seconds to put it away.
Defensively, Villanova refused to yield space under the basket to the 7-foot-1 Dickinson, who came in averaging 24 points in Michigan’s two NCAA Tournament wins.
Justin Moore scored 15 points and Gillespie scored 12 for Villanova.
Michigan: Guard DeVante’ Jones started 32 games this season but missed the Wolverines’ first-round game against Colorado State because of concussion protocols, and was held out of the second half of the second-round win over Tennessee when his symptoms returned.
Jones scored seven and had five rebounds also left the game briefly in the second half when he fell hard to the floor chasing a loose ball.
Villanova: The Wildcats have been launching 3-pointers all season and there was nothing to deter them when they weren’t falling against the Wolverines. The Wildcats were 9 of 30 from long range — their ninth game this season with at least 30 attempts. The most was 50 in a win over Syracuse.