There are sluggish starts. And then there are starts that simply never come into existence. Unfortunately for Villanova, the latter defined their night.
Falling to Michigan 46-73 at home in the new walls of The Finn, the Wildcats faltered in their “repeat” match-up of the 2018 National Championship game. The results, needless to say, were slightly different tonight.
For Villanova, flashes of offensive life dissipated far faster than the grinding minutes undergone to muster any attempt at shooting success. Michigan quickly established their dominance in the early minutes of the game—by the ten-minute mark of the first half, ‘Nova scrambled to show a meager eight total points on the scoreboard, compared to Michigan’s 22. In fact, by halftime, Michigan’s Charles Matthews topped scoring for the Wolverines with 16 points. To contrast, Villanova’s entire team amassed only 17 points.
As the game persisted, the score discrepancy further widened. Michigan continued to suffocate Villanova’s offense, blocking shots and rapidly shutting down the Wildcats from both ends of the court. Shooting 51% of their field goals, Michigan also outmanned ‘Nova underneath the bucket, nabbing 44 points in the paint compared to ‘Nova’s 20. Forcing 21 turnovers on the Wildcats, Michigan capitalized on ‘Nova’s mistakes by securing 25 points off those turnovers. Matthews ended the game on top for Michigan, scoring 19 points.
The Wildcats’ final stats for the night adequately reflect their dismal evening. Scoring 32% from the field, ‘Nova’s lead scorer for the night was Eric Paschall. Coach Jay Wright’s only player in double digits, Paschall ended with 10 points, and was followed by Phil Booth’s 9-point effort. Through both halves, Villanova struggled to inject the necessary fluidity in their sequences, and even faced dips in their signature three-point shooting. Dropping to 20% for 3FGs, Michigan clogged ‘Nova’s shooting from every angle.
Villanova can now take notes from Taylor Swift and shake it off. The Wildcats move on to play Furman this Saturday (11/17) at home in the Pavilion.