Top-seeded Villanova bounced by N.C. State
Villanova went from a top seed to No. 1-and-done.
The Associated Press
PITTSBURGH — The rims seemed tight. So did Villanova.
The Wildcats missed so many shots — gimme layups, uncontested jumpers, airballed threes — that it was no surprise the first thing to fall was their Final Four target.
No wonder it came to this: The ’Cats were the first to go from a top seed to No. 1-and-done.
North Carolina State, a program that authored one of the early chapters on March shockers, can add another stunner to the list: The Wolfpack is back in the Sweet 16.
“We came out today with the feeling that everybody expected us to lose to a one seed,” said forward BeeJay Anya, “but we believe in ourselves and that we’re good enough to beat anybody in the country, and we went down and did it.”
N.C. State attacked one of the top teams in the nation for 40 minutes, playing with a chest-thumping swagger that helped them stun Villanova 71-68 on Saturday night.
N.C. State guards Cat Barber and Desmond Lee shared a long embrace after the buzzer as their teammates danced around the court in celebration.
Barber turned to Lee, pounded his chest and yelled, “All heart!”
No, this wasn’t quite as meaningful as Jim Valvano’s mad dash looking for somebody — anybody — to hug after the Wolfpack won the 1983 national championship. But the Wolfpack (22-13) has designs on its own big March run and will move on to Syracuse, N.Y., to play the winner of the Louisville-Northern Iowa game.
Trevor Lacey led them with 17 points, and Barber had 13. Malik-Adbul Abu had 13 points, 12 rebounds and absolutely destroyed the Wildcats inside.
The Wildcats (33-3) saw a 16-game winning streak end and have not reached the second weekend since 2009.
“I know we have to answer to the fact that we did not get to the second weekend again,” coach Jay Wright said. “We have to own that. But it’s not going to define us within our program. It’s going to define us outside of our program, and we accept that.”
Dylan Ennis was nearly inconsolable, his arms crossed over his head in disbelief. Ennis missed a three-pointer after a North Carolina State turnover with 20 seconds left that would have put the Wildcats ahead.