National Basketball Association
Villanova 63, Michigan 55
When: 7:29 PM ET, Thursday, March 24, 2022
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
# Don Daily, # Tony Henderson, # Pat Adams
SAN ANTONIO -- Any game between Villanova and Michigan, two college basketball bluebloods, is likely to be a slugfest. But with the stakes raised in the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 on Thursday, it came down to the simplest of factors -- making shots, keeping the opponent's best player from playing his best, and never stopping fighting.
The second-seeded Wildcats were up to the task, getting 22 points from Jermaine Samuels, hitting timely shots and making key stops in a gritty 63-55 win over 11th-seeded Michigan in the South Region matchup in San Antonio.
The Wildcats (29-7) will next play No. 5 Houston, which knocked off top-seeded Arizona 72-60 in the other South Region semifinal Thursday.
Justin Moore added 15 points for Villanova and Gillespie chipped in 12, all on 3-pointers.
"We go rest because we are beat up," Villanova coach Jay Wright said of heading to the Elite Eight. "It's about surviving now. We've got to learn a little bit by film and then come out and be intelligent against whoever we're playing against."
Hunter Dickinson led Michigan with 15 points and 15 rebounds, while Eli Brooks scored 14 for the Wolverines (19-15).
Thursday's game was a rematch of the 2018 NCAA championship game between the two teams, also won by the Wildcats.
On Thursday, Villanova carried a three-point lead to halftime and Michigan got no closer in the second half.
Michigan pulled to within 54-50 on two free throws by Terrance Williams II with 3:19 remaining, but the Wildcats responded with a layup by Samuels and a 3-pointer by Collin Gillespie and held on for their eighth straight win and 22nd win in their past 25 games.
Samuels was responsible for guarding Dickinson in the post and won enough of those battles to keep the Michigan star from taking over the game.
"We knew he was gonna find the ball at some point, so you just try to make it as difficult as possible," Samuels said. "Once he gets the ball, you just try to be as solid as possible and know that you have help behind you and try to make him take a contested shot."
The teams played an extremely clean first half, with just eight combined fouls and seven turnovers. The Wildcats led by as many as seven points, using a 10-2 run to go up 18-11 after Moore's pull-up trey at the 10:30 mark.
Michigan trailed 20-15 before scoring seven straight points, taking a 22-20 lead with 3:58 to play in the half via five straight points by DeVante' Jones.
Samuels put Villanova back in front with a three-point play with 3:42 remaining. The Wildcats extended their advantage to 28-23 on another bucket by Samuels and eventually took a 31-28 lead into the break.
Samuels led all scorers in the half with 11 points while Moore had 10. Dickinson paced Michigan with eight points. The Wolverines outshot Villanova 44.4 percent to 37.9 percent and made one more field goal but converted just 1 of 6 free throws before halftime.
The Wolverines were within three points after a free throw by Moussa Diabate with 17:15 to play in the game, but Villanova stretched its advantage to 54-45 on a layup by Eric Dixon with 5:17 left.
"I look back at the season, and these players can hold their heads up high," Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. "There were times when we were counted out. There were times when people felt that we didn't deserve to be here. And these guys rose to the occasion and proved that they earned the right."
--Steve Habel, Field Level Media
Top Game Performances
Hunter Dickinson 15
Jermaine Samuels 22
DeVante' Jones 4
Justin Moore 4
Hunter Dickinson 15
Caleb Daniels 9
Hunter Dickinson 3
||Free Throws Made
Jermaine Samuels 5
Eli Brooks 1
Jermaine Samuels 2
Moussa Diabate 2
Jermaine Samuels 2
Team Stats Summary