Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Villanova 77, Duke 54

Villanova routs Duke in NCAA Tournament

BOSTON — Villanova used a strong second half to rout Duke 77-54 Thursday in the East Region semifinals.

The Wildcats' swarming shutdown defense was at its best against the usually deadly perimeter shooting Blue Devils to set a school record for wins and reach the Elite Eight for the second time in the past four years.

The Wildcats (29-7), who led 26-23 at halftime, meet Pittsburgh on Saturday for a trip to Detroit and the Final Four. They won the lone regular-season meeting against their Big East brethren, 67-57, at home on Jan. 28.

Duke (30-7), which had won five straight and 10 of its previous 11, had no answer for Villanova.

The Blue Devils hit just 7 of 25 shots in the first half (28 percent), including 2 of 11 from 3-point range. Junior standouts Gerald Henderson was 0 for 5, and Jon Scheyer was 1 of 8. Henderson finished 1 of 14 in the game, and Scheyer, the ACC tournament MVP, was 3 of 18.

It got worse after the break as the Wildcats, looking more aggressive and confident at both ends, opened a commanding 49-33 lead with 12:33 left. Duke never cut the deficit below double figures, finishing with a season-low field goal percentage (26.7 percent on 16 of 60).

"A great game for us,'' Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "We're getting better this late in the year, which is really exciting."

Duke failed to reach the Elite Eight for the fifth consecutive year.

"Around January, coach said if the team is going to be great, it's when you all take pride in defense," Villanova junior guard Scottie Reynolds said. "We all knew we could score and put points on the board, but there's going to be those times where we don't score and will have to do it on the defensive end."

"It's the commitment to defense we have now," said junior guard Reggie Redding. "And us playing hard and together."

Brian Landman can be reached at or (813) 226-3347.

NCAA Tournament Thursday's games

Tonight's region semifinals

No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 12 Arizona, 7:07, Ch. 10

No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Syracuse, 7:27

No. 2 Michigan St. vs. No. 3 Kansas, 9:20

No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 4 Gonzaga, 9:57, Ch. 10

Villanova routs Duke in NCAA Tournament 03/26/09 [Last modified: Friday, March 27, 2009 7:32am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. U.S. repeats as Solheim Cup champion


    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

    Lexi Thompson, left, comes back from four holes down to halve the day’s first singles match with Europe’s Anna Nordqvist to set the tone for the United States.
  2. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener


    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  4. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush


    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  5. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.