When I heard both Ochefu and Groselle would be either out or limited in this game I thought to myself, "My, there may be quite a few jump shots, perhaps some 3-pointers in this game?"
My brain treated me right, as through the first four minutes of gameplay the Wildcats and Bluejays traded 3-pointers over and over again. It was 12-12 up until the first media timeout, with Mo Watson (x2), Khyri Thomas, and Toby Hegner sinking threes to start the game for the Jays while Nova got some threes out of Brunson (x2) and Jenkins (x2).
Creighton started the game with a bizarre switch-defense, with heavy rotation on shooters, occasionally leaving someone wide open. That's how Brunson managed his first 9 points on three threes. It has its merit, however, as it forced Villanova into nearly attaining a shot clock violation as they had difficulty getting any spacing.
Geoffrey Groselle managed to make an appearance and immediately made an impact as a post presence. It was good to see him moving around without much pause as he navigated the court. He did take a spill attempting to get an offensive board and ended up going to the bench shortly thereafter.
Villanova's offense was able to keep pace with Mikal Bridges slicing and scoring on the Creighton defense. Kris Jenkins made a circus shot after getting fouled by Toby Hegner.
It was 24-23 Creighton with ~7:30 left.
Ryan Arcidiacono managed to lean into contact while shooting a three, which inevitably put Nova up by 2 with just under 6 minutes left.
Phil Booth managed to draw some contact on a drive to the basket, made both, and put the Wildcats up by 4. With those foul shots, Villanova was pacing the Jays with an 8-0 run. The run continued with a sweet drive by Jenkins to put Nova up by 6, which led to a Creighton timeout. 30-24 Wildcats with just under 4:20 left in the half.
Out of the timeout, Mo Watson was able to pull an Archie by drawing contact on a drive to the bucket while managing to cash in on the shot. He missed the free throw but cut the lead to 4.
Josh Hart managed to draw contact on the other end, making both free throws, growing the lead back to 6.
Immediately after, Villanova went into a 2-3 zone, which Watson exploited on a dish to Groselle who promptly dunked it with no one around him.
Bridges made a three on the other end, growing the lead to 7. The threes in this game have been phenomenal.
On the other end, Mo Watson got fouled on a drive to the bucket but missed the front end of his free throws, managed to make the second and dropped the lead to 6.
Booth made a three of his own on the other end, forced a turnover out of the hands of a slicing Milliken, and took it down court at a high rate of speed. Hart was called for an offensive foul going over the back of Cole Huff.
Mo Watson took the ball down, drove to the bucket, and passed to a wide open Huff for three, cutting the lead to 6.
A ticky-tack foul was called on Hanson on the other end, and Bridges made both free throws to grow the lead to 8. Arcidiacono stole the ball from Watson, drove down, and Bridges got an and-one to grow the lead to 11.
Watson turned the ball over on the next possession. Jay Wright called a timeout with 33 seconds remaining to assure a positive outcome in their final possession.43-32 Wildcats.
Phil Booth capitalized on a pick and roll, finishing a 25-8 run. 45-32 Wildcats at half.