NEW ORLEANS — Kansas led wire-to-wire in Saturday’s Final Four game against Villanova as the Jayhawks defeated the Wildcats 81-65 inside the Caesars Superdome.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji set the tone early by knocking down a three-pointer to start the game. Adbaji’s bucket sparked a 10-0 run for the Jayhawks. Villanova didn’t get its first bucket until Brandon Slater’s dunk with 17:05 left in the first half.
After a sluggish start, the Wildcats managed to trim the lead down to eight points twice but every time the Jayhawks responded.
After a Jalen Wilson two-point shot with 4:55 left before halftime, Kansas had built up its lead 19 points.
Collin Gillespie closed that gap slightly as he made a jumper and a three-pointer in the final 2:15 in the half but Kansas still held a 40-29 advantage at the break.
Kansas began the second half strong as Christian Braun blocked Slater’s shot and then made a layup on the other end. Gillsepie drained a three-pointer but Agbaji did the same a few seconds later.
Villanova kept clawing and made it a single-digit deficit after three-pointers by Slater and Caleb Daniels. With 14:07 left in regulation, Kansas led 50-42.
After a pair of Eric Dixon free throws, the Wildcats trailed by only seven points with roughly eight minutes to play.
Villanova managed to cut it down to six points with under five minutes to go, but Kansas answered how it had done all game. The Jayhawks would continue to hold the Wildcats at arm’s length for a double-digit victory.
BIG NUMBER: 40
Kansas jumped out to that early lead and never looked back as the Jayhawks would lead for all 40 minutes in the wire-to-wire national semifinal victory.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: OCHAI AGBAJI & DAVID MCCORMACK
Agbaji went 6-for-8 from the field, with all six of his shots coming from beyond the arc as he scored 21 points in the win. McCormack meanwhile led the Jayhawks with 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting and 5-of-6 from the free throw line.
UP NEXT: Kansas (33-6) will face the winner of Duke-North Carolina in Monday night’s NCAA National Championship Game.