REVENGE ISN'T JUST FOR FOOTBALL: U-M Basketball Routs Villanova in Final Four Rematch, 73 - 46

REVENGE ISN'T JUST FOR FOOTBALL: U-M Basketball Routs Villanova in Final Four Rematch, 73 - 46

Basketball

REVENGE ISN'T JUST FOR FOOTBALL: U-M Basketball Routs Villanova in Final Four Rematch, 73 - 46

Well, the football team apparently doesn’t have a monopoly on the “revenge tour.”

Of course that line is assuredly the opening foray into just about every article looking at Michigan’s dominant 27 point win over defending national champion Villanova, who the Wolverines smacked to the tune of 73-46 on Wednesday evening, on the Wildcats newly renovated home floor.

It wasn’t close, and it never really was.

In a rematch between the two national semi-finalists, the game was a polar opposite from what the two teams showcased in San Antonio in April, but even more lopsided. In that game, Michigan’s signature defense was decimated by Wildcats reserve guard, Donte DiVincenzo, who led all scorers with 31 points, and was on fire from three, going five for seven.

Coming into the redux matchup, No. 8 Villanova (2-0) was widely expected to win, especially given that the Wildcats won its first two contests of the season with seeming ease. No. 18 Michigan, on the other hand, opened with a sloppy win over Norfolk St. before needing to mount a second-half comeback against Holy Cross.

But, on the back of a stunning defensive performance that looked more late-season than early-season, and 50.9% shooting, including 29.4% from three, Michigan came out making an early statement, taking a 44-17 lead into the locker room at halftime and never looking back.

Things got chippy though in the second half, and Villanova wasn’t intent to get simply dominated at The Finn. As the Michigan lead swelled to 30, ‘Nova cut it to 25. Both teams found themselves in the bonus rather quickly, but the Wolverines held on for the surprising, lopsided victory, which saw the maize and blue’s true freshman contingent on the floor for the final minutes of the game.

Of all things in the game, despite putting up a season high of 73,  it was Michigan’s defense that reigned supreme. The Wolverines were out-rebounded, but managed 11 steals and 6 blocks in the game.

This game was part of the fourth annual Gavitt Tipoff Games, which pits Big Ten and Big East teams against each other at the outset of the college basketball season. Unlike some of the invitational-type early season matchups, it is not a tournament-style series, instead just pitting the conferences against each other in a series of one-off games. Eight Big Ten and eight Big East teams participate each year.

Player of the game

Charles Matthews, who led all scorers with 19 points to go along with 3 blocks. The fourth-year player showcased precisely why he was such a highly-regarded recruit when he originally signed with Kentucky.

He also was 5 of 7 from the free throw line, an area where he’s struggled mightily over the last few years.

Honorable mention goes to Ignas Brazdeikis, the true freshman from Mono (Canada) who finished with 18 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals — his third straight game with double-digit scoring.

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