The Wildcats got off to a slow start but pulled away late in the first half to earn their second national title in three seasons.
SAN ANTONIO — You just never know which weapon it's going to be.
Donte DiVincenzo had the game of his life, scoring 13 of his season-high 31 points during the second half, and Villanova rolled to its second national championship in three seasons by topping Michigan, 79-62, at the Alamodome on Monday night.
Michigan got off to a strong start in the game, but didn’t have the muscle to stick with the Wildcats.
Despite Associated Press Player of the Year Jalen Brunson missing a long stretch of the second half in foul trouble and going more than 18 minutes without making a shot in the first half, Villanova continued its dominant run through the tournament field.
DiVincenzo was hot early and stayed that way, going 10-for-15 from the field, including 5-for-7 from 3-point range.
But DiVincenzo was quick to credit his teammates for his performance.“Honestly, it was a credit to these guys up here,” DiVincenzo said, pointing to his teammates. “(Michigan) did a great job of making it difficult for Jalen (Brunson) and Mikel (Bridges), and they were just making the right play. They were trying to be aggressive, and they were finding me, and Omari (Spellman) was setting great screens and getting me open.”
After hitting a Final Four-record 18 3-pointers on Saturday, the Wildcats were 10-for-27 from long distance against Michigan.
Mikal Bridges had 19 for Villanova. Brunson added 9. Eric Paschall was held scoreless in the first half and finished with 6.
Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman had 23 for Michigan. Moe Wagner added 16.
Bridges, Brunson and Paschall were named to the All-Tournament team for Villanova. Wagner made the squad for Michigan. DiVincenzo was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
Michigan struggled from from the 3-point range throughout the game, going 3-for-23 in the game, including 1-10 in the second half.
The Wolverines came out firing and were up as many as six early in the first half, but despite the Wildcats playing poorly, couldn't pull away. As the Wildcats found their footing, they started to dominate.
"They came out, you know, John Beilein is one of the best coaches of all time, and early we weren’t prepared for some of the things they were doing," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "I should have known better with John. Then, we kind of got settled in after that and did a good job defensively, but we have great respect for them, and it was just an honor to play them in this game."
Led by DiVincenzo, Villanova went on a run, finishing the first half by scoring 19 of the final 32 points to take a 37-28 lead into the break.
The second half was more of the same, with the Wildcats slowly stretching their lead. With just under 10 minutes remaining, Michigan took its final swing.
A Wagner dunk and a Charles Matthews layup cut the Villanova lead to 12, but DiVincenzo — with Brunson on the bench with four fouls — put the game away. The sophomore hit a pair of 3-pointers, taking the lead back to 18 and ending Michigan's hopes.
“We couldn’t get it going on either end, and let’s credit Villanova in both respects,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “They play really good defense. Everybody talks about their offense, but I think that’s what’s really underrated is how good they are defensively.”