No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks defeated No. 2 Villanova Wildcats 81-65 in the first matchup of the men’s NCAA Final Four in New Orleans.
Thanks to an almost perfect performance from Ochai Agbaji, their fifth-year senior guard, Kansas moved on. He scored 21 points and made all six 3-pointers he attempted, including the first shot of the game. Center David McCormack added 25 points by center David McCormack. Combined, the two Kansas anchors made 16 of 20 shots.
Villanova, playing without Justin Moore, who ruptured his Achilles’ tendon last week, tried to shoot its way back from an early 19-point deficit. But its guard triumvirate — Collin Gillespie, Brandon Slater, and New Orleans native Caleb Daniels, who replaced Moore in the starting lineup — did not quite have enough.
Villanova drew within 64-58 on Jermaine Samuels’ 3-point play, but could get no closer. When Christian Braun hit a 3-pointer with the shot clock expiring, it gave Kansas a 71-59 lead and all but spelled the end.
In Sunday’s NCAA Final, Kansas will face the winner of North Carolina vs. Duke.