Donte “The Big Ragu” DiVincenzo played the role of hero for Villanova on Sunday afternoon.
The redshirt freshman was far from perfect for much of the game, showing hesitance on offense a turning the ball over a couple of times. He was, however, perfect when it counted.
Following a Josh Hart miss with a second remaining, DiVincenzo rose high for a tip-in with one-tenth of a second remaining to give top-ranked Nova the 61-59 victory over 12th-ranked Virginia.
For the majority of the highly anticipated contest, the ‘Cats looked like they were going to drop their second-straight game. They trailed 31-22 at halftime and 49-37 with 10 minutes remaining.
But then the tide began to turn. First it was a Hart 3-pointer, then another from the previously slumping Kris Jenkins. Seconds later, Jenkins had two-in-a-row to pull Nova within 1 at 49-48 with 6:54 left in the contest.
Jay Wright’s team would take its first lead since the three-minute mark after a Jalen Brunson knocked down a pair of free throws with 5:32 left to make it 50-49 and cap a 13-0 Nova run.
The two would then proceed to trade haymakers, as Ty Jerome played a starring role for the Tony Bennett’s Cavaliers.
A Brunson layup with 37 seconds left gave the ‘Cats a 59-57 lead but against Jerome had an answer, hitting a clutch bucket to pull his squad even.
Following a Nova time out, Hart took the ball at the top of the key. He drove left and was able to get a look at the rim that took one bounce and appeared to be coming off the rim and sending us to overtime.
DiVicenzo wasn’t fond of that idea. The Delaware native came flying in from the left corner, leaping to tip in the miss and give the ‘Cats the win, sending the Wells Fargo Center into a frenzy.
- Villanova needs Kris Jenkins to shoot the ball well in March if it hopes to defend its crown. Jenkins made two huge 3-pointers in the second half to help Nova spark a comeback, but prior to those he hadn’t hit a field goal in his last three halves. With Phil Booth likely done for the year, Jenkins has to fire on all cylinders.
- The ‘Cats don’t quit. For the first 30 minutes of this game Villanova looked dead in the water. It had given of offensive rebounds, turned the ball over, and missed just about everything from the field. But Wright’s squad didn’t panic. The ‘Cats stuck to the gameplan, chipped away, and earned a hard-fought victory.
- Ty Jerome is a baller. The freshman from New Rochelle, New York was spectacular for the Cavs today. He posted a career high 15 points in the biggest game of his career to this point and never looked out of place. With a bit more time under Bennett, Jerome could be a force to be reckoned with.