The NCAA tournament knows every kind of upset except one, where a 16-seed beats a 1, the holy grail of all upsets.
Mount St. Mary’s teased the crowd, and the nation, for a half Thursday night before Villanova restored world order with a 76-56 first-round win against the overmatched but game Mountaineers from Emmitsburg, Md. Villanova coach Jay Wright offered them kudos afterward.
“They really outplayed us,” Wright said. “We just, at the end, had more size. … We just had bigger, better athletes, but they were a great team. I thought they were the better team tonight.”
Well, perhaps for a half. The Mount trailed by a point at halftime, after leading for almost all of the first half, and scored the first basket of the second half. But from there the Wildcats went on a 12-0 run and never looked back, using their superior size and firepower to pull away.
BOXSCORE: Villanova 76, Mount St. Mary’s 56
The Mountaineers could have had a considerable first-half lead had they shot better. They were 10-for-25 from the field and several threes rimmed out. They had jumped out to a 10-2 early lead and had held the Wildcats scoreless through the first media timeout.
“Honestly, we thought they were going to try to come in and punch us in the face right away,” Mountaineers guard Elijah Long said. “That obviously wasn’t the case.”
The Mount’s three-guard offense, including 5-5 Junior Robinson, gave Villanova fits for long stretches.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Erik Brady