BOSTON—Jalen Brunson scored 27 points as No. 1-seeded Villanova defeated No. 5-seeded West Virginia 90-78 on Friday at TD Garden to advance to the Elite 8.
Omari Spellman chipped in 18 points. Mikal Bridges had 16 points and Eric Paschall added 14 for the Wildcats.
Daxter Miles Jr. led the Mountaineers (26-11) with 16 points. Jevon Carter and Sagaba Konate both had 12 points. Esa Ahmad added 11 and Teddy Allen 10.
Villanova (33-4) has made 47 3-points so far during the tournament.
WVU’s stingy defense caused problems for the Wildcats early on. The Mountaineers forced 16 turnovers but Villanova’s hot shooting helped them overcome that.
WVU appeared to be in control after Carter’s steal and a layup gave the Mountaineers a 60-54 with 11:08 left. However, the Wildcats responded with an 11-0 run and took control.
“Well, they miss a free throw, and we don’t block out,” head coach Bob Huggins said. “They get the ball back and hit a three. So it goes from six to two in a hurry. We had shots. We didn’t make them. They made open shots. We didn’t make open shots. These guys can tell you. I start telling guys at the beginning of the year, man, at this time of year, if you want to win in March, you have to make open shots. They made open shots, we didn’t. We got way more shots than they got. We just didn’t make them.”
Foul trouble proved problematic for WVU. Several players, including Carter, Konate, Allen Beetle Bolden and Logan Routt were whistled for multiple fouls. Miles fouled out with 2:12 remaining.
The Mountaineers shot 38.6 percent from the floor, 25 percent from beyond the arc and 73.9 percent from the free throw line.
Villanova shot 50 percent from the field, 54.2 percent from 3-point range and 85.2 percent from the charity stripe.
Villanova will play the winner of the Texas Tech/ Purdue game on Sunday.
The loss marks the end of the season for WVU and the end of the collegiate careers for Carter and Miles.
“First off, I want to say “thank you” to Coach Huggs for giving me the opportunity to play for West Virginia and thank you to the state for showing us, just being great my four years,” Miles said. “And “thank you” to my teammates for staying down and working hard. Coach Huggs, man, he gave me an opportunity, like I said. That’s all I got to say. A great coach, man, a great person off the court, and it’s been fun. I wish we would have kept going, but I enjoyed every moment.”
Cover Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports