11:05 p.m.-VILLANOVA WILDCATS DOMINATE KANSAS JAYHAWKS ON WAY TO NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
For the second time in the last three years, the Villanova Wildcats will play for the NCAA men’s basketball championship.
Winners of the East Region, the Wildcats (35-4) earned their return to the National Championship Game with a dominating 95-79 victory over the Midwest Regional champion Kansas Jayhawks in the semifinals of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, Saturday night.
The Wildcats came out firing from three-point range, making 13 of 20 (65 percent) at one point in the first half, and that allowed them to seize an early double-digit advantage which never got closer than 14 points over the final 24 minutes of play.
For the game, the Wildcats converted 18 of their 40 tries from three-point range (45 percent) and 36 of their 65 attempts (55.4 percent) against a Kansas team that knocked down only 28 shots and seven triples in a losing effort.
Despite getting outshot, 20 to seven at the free-throw line, Villanova assisted on 20 of its 36 baskets, blocked five shots and committed only 10 turnovers in the win over Kansas.
Forward Eric Paschall led the way for the Wildcats with 24 points on 10-of-11 shooting from the field and a four-of-five effort from three-point range, while teammates Jalen Brunson (18), Omari Spellman (15), Donte DiVincenzo (15), Phil Booth (10) and Mikal Bridges (10) added double-digit point production.
PHOTOS: Villanova dominates Kansas on way to National Championship Game
10:42 p.m.-VILLANOVA CONTINUES TO SEPARATE FROM KANSAS
The Villanova Wildcats are well on their way back to the National Championship Game for the second time in three years, and they hold a 78-59 advantage over the Kansas Jayhawks with 5:39 to play in regulation in the national semifinals at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Kansas got the deficit down to 14 points when guard Malik Newman connected on a jumper at the 9:23 mark, but when the lead got down to 71-57, the Wildcats went on a 7-0 scoring run. And although Lagerald Vick threw down a dunk for the Jayhawks, Villanova’s Omari Spellman answered with a dunk of his own that put the lead back up to 19.
10:23 p.m.-‘NOVA, KANSAS TRADE BASKETS
Between the “Under 12” and “Under Eight” media timeouts at the start of the second half, the Villanova Wildcats and Kansas Jayhawks traded points, each scoring five before the second break in the action out of halftime.
Despite matching the Wildcats, the Jayhawks found themselves on the wrong end of a 67-47 score with 11:58 to play in regulation.
Villanova guard Omari Spellman got a response basket to a pair of free throws from guard Malik Newman when he buried a three-pointer at the 13:43 mark.
10:14 p.m.-VILLANOVA BUILDS 20-POINT LEAD OVER KANSAS
After tying a single-game Final Four record with 13 first-half three-pointers, the Villanova Wildcats continued their hot shooting over the first six-plus minutes of the second half of the national semifinals at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Although Kansas got Villanova’s lead down to 13 points with two made free throws out of the halftime break, the Wildcats responded with a 15-8 scoring run that pushed the advantage out to 20, 62-42, with 13:49 to play in the second half.
Just as he did in the first half, forward Eric Paschall got the rally going for the Wildcats, as he buried a three-pointer at the 18:58 mark, and after a nearly two-minute long scoring drought, Villanova went on a scoring run that Kansas’ Devonte’ Graham short-circuited a pair of three-pointers, which kept the lead from getting beyond 20 points.
9:44 p.m.-VILLANOVA DOMINATES FIRST HALF OF PLAY AGAINST KANSAS
The Villanova Wildcats came out shooting and making from three-point range, and they used the long-distance shots to their advantage in building a 47-32 lead over the Kansas Jayhawks at halftime of the national semifinal at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, Saturday night.
After missing their first two attempts from three-point range in the early moments of the game, the Wildcats went on to convert 13 of their next 20 tries from long distance. Despite missing their final four three-point tries of the first half, the Wildcats knocked down 13 of their 26 attempts from long distance over the first 20 minutes of play.
Each of Villanova’s five starters knocked down at least two shots from three-point range, and two of the three reserves who saw action in the first half buried one of two attempts from three-point range.
Guard Jalen Brunson led the way for the Wildcats with 13 points in the first half.
Conversely, Kansas was 13 of 30 from the field (43.3 percent) and two of six from three-point range in the first half.
9:27 p.m.-‘NOVA CONTINUES TO PUSH THE PACE
After a brief scoring drought, Villanova came out of the “under 12” media timeout firing from three-point range once again, as guard Eric Paschall keyed a 12-9 run with a triple that gave the Wildcats a 34-20 edge with 6:52 to play in the first half of the national semifinal against Kansas at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Guards Phil Booth and Mikal Bridges took their cues from Paschall and they each connected on a three-pointer over the next 77 seconds.
Kansas’s Malik Newman cut the deficit down to 14 points when he buried a three-pointer of his own, which was the first basket for either team out of the timeout.
9:21 p.m.-KANSAS FINDS ITS SHOT, BUT STILL TRAILS BY DOUBLE DIGITS
After a torrid start from Villanova, especially from three-point range, the Kansas Jayhawks found their rhythm on the offensive end of the floor and went on a 7-0 run over a nearly three-minute stretch and chipped away at the deficit.
However, the Jayhawks still found themselves on the wrong end of a 22-11 score against the Wildcats with 10:25 to play in the first half of the national semifinal at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, Saturday night.
Kansas reserve forward Silvio De Sousa ignited the rally by converting one of his two free-throw attempts and following it up with two tip-in put-backs over the next minute of play.
9:08 p.m.-VILLANOVA STARTS FINAL FOUR WITH MONSTER RUN AGAINST KANSAS
Over the first five minutes of play in the national semifinals against the Kansas Jayhawks, the Villanova Wildcats certainly played like a team anxious to get back to the National Championship Game for the second time in three years.
The Wildcats started the game with a 9-2 run that forced the Jayhawks into a timeout, and they held a 16-4 edge over Kansas at the 14:21 mark of the first half from The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
After two misses from three-point range at the start of the game, the Wildcats got two triples from forwards Eric Paschall and Omari Spellman, and guard joined Mikal Bridges in on the barrage by knocking down a shot of his own from long distance over an 88-second stretch.
Out of the break from Kansas’ timeout, Villanova guard Jalen Brunson buried a jumper and Spellman connected on his second three-pointer of the half.
8:49 p.m.-KANSAS, VILLANOVA MEET FOR FINAL SPOT IN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
The Kansas Jayhawks and Villanova Wildcats will battle for the right to play for the 2018 National Championship at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
The winner between the Jayhawks and Wildcats will take on Michigan in Monday's National Championship Game.
8:09 p.m.-MICHIGAN CLINCHES SPOT IN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
A monster run will do it.
Michigan stormed out of the “under-eight” media timeout, went back in front of the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers, courtesy of a 17-2 run over a six-and-a-half minute stretch and never relinquished the lead on the way to a 69-57 win in the national semifinals at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, Saturday.
Over the final 14-plus minutes of play, the Wolverines (33-7) outscored the Ramblers (32-6), 38-16, and reached the National Championship Game for the sixth time in school history.
Michigan will try and bring home the university’s first national title in basketball since its 80-79 overtime win over Seton Hall in 1989. They will face off against either the Kansas Jayhawks or Villanova Wildcats in Monday’s National Championship Game.
PHOTOS: Michigan defeats Loyola-Chicago in NCAA Final Four
7:49 p.m.-MICHIGAN CONTINUES RUN, GETTING CLOSER TO LEAD
Down by just six points after twice trailing by double-digits, the Michigan Wolverines fought their way back into the national semifinal with a 13-6 scoring run that trimmed Loyola-Chicago’s lead to just three points, 47-44, with under eight minutes to go in regulation.
Michigan’s Jordan Poole got the run started with a layup, which answered a pair of free throws from Ramblers guard Clayton Custer, and then, Duncan Robinson caught a pass from Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman and buried a three-pointer to get it down to a one-possession game.
After a Loyola timeout and layup, Jordan Poole converted a layup for the Wolverines.
7:37 p.m.-MICHIGAN FINDS JUMPER, BUT LOYOLA CONTINUES TO HOLD LEAD
For the second time since halftime, the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers built their lead over Michigan to 10 points, but the third-seeded Wolverines had an answer to the baskets they gave up on the defensive end and trailed by just six points with 11:25 to play in the second half of the national semifinal at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Michigan guard Jaaron Simmons delivered the big shot, as he caught a pass in the right corner of the floor from Duncan Robinson and buried a three-pointer, which was the first long-distance attempt from the Wolverines since the first half.
That made it a six-point game, 43-37, with less than 12 minutes to play in regulation.
7:28 p.m.-LOYOLA-CHICAGO ANSWERS MICHIGAN SCORES EARLY IN SECOND HALF
Already up by seven points, the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers came out of the halftime break and got a three-point play from center Cameron Krutwig that set a tone for the type of physical play that would take place over the next four minutes against the Michigan Wolverines.
The Ramblers hung tough and matched the Wolverines, basket for basket, and maintained a seven-point lead, 36-29, at the 15:56 mark of the second half of the national semifinal at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
With the exception of Michigan’s first basket of the second half, the Ramblers matched the Wolverines with a quick score after each of their makes over the first four minutes, including a three-pointer from guard Clayton Custer, which gave Loyola-Chicago an eight-point edge.
7:10 p.m.-RAMBLERS GET STANDOUT FIRST-HALF EFFORT
Center Cameron Krutwig and guard Marques Townes, as well as reserve forward Aundre Jackson scored eight points each, totaling 24 of Loyola-Chicago’s 29 first-half points, and that led to a 29-22 lead over the Michigan Wolverines at halftime of the national semifinal at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Despite missing all three of its first-half three-point tries, Loyola-Chicago converted 10 of its 24 looks from the field, scored 18 points in the paint and went nine of 10 at the free-throw line over the first 20 minutes of play against the Wolverines.
Although the Wolverines held a 21-18 edge in total rebounds and an 8-2 advantage in offensive boards, they committed eight turnovers and seven personal fouls against just six giveaways from the Ramblers in the first half.
Michigan forward Moritz Wagner had 11 points on five-of-eight shooting and 11 rebounds, while guard Charles Matthews had eight markers, but no other player had more than two points in the first half, as the Wolverines converted just nine of their 31 attempts from the field and two of their 13 looks from three-point range.
7:01 p.m.-RAMBLERS BUILD SEVEN-POINT EDGE AT THE BREAK
From monster upsets to buzzer-beating shots, the 2018 NCAA Tournament has had a little bit of everything for college basketball fans, and as an 11-seed that advanced to the Final Four, the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers know a little bit about that.
The Ramblers got a buzzer-beating jumper from guard Donte Ingram to carom into the hoop, and that shot gave them a 29-22 lead over the Michigan Wolverines at halftime of the national semifinal at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Out of a break in the action, Ramblers guard Clayton Custer converted a pair of free-throw attempts, and a minute later, fellow guard Marques Townes got a layup to go in traffic.
Although Michigan guard Charles Matthews made a three-point play after converting a layup and knocking down the ensuing free-throw attempt, Loyola-Chicago got a pair of jumpers in the final 40 seconds to take a seven-point lead into the break.
6:48 p.m.-LOYOLA-CHICAGO STORMS BACK INTO THE LEAD
Out of the media timeout, Loyola-Chicago went on a 9-4 run and took a 21-19 lead over the Michigan Wolverines with 3:40 to play in the first half of the national semifinals at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Guard Cameron Satterwhite started the run by splitting a pair of free throws, and then, after a minute without any scoring, center Cameron Krutwig drew the score even at 15-15 with a layup out of a transition set.
Krutwig put the Ramblers back in front for the first time since the early minutes of the game with a pair of free throws, and then, guard Marques Townes extended the advantage with a layup.
After forward Moritz Wagner got a layup to fall for the Wolverines, Ramblers forward Aundre Jackson answered with a layup of his own. Wagner made it a one-possession game with a layup at the 4:10 mark.
6:39 p.m.-LOYOLA-CHICAGO TRIMS DEFICIT
After watching Michigan go on an unanswered nine-point run, Loyola-Chicago answered with a 6-3 burst of its own and cut the deficit down to three points, 15-12, with 7:53 to play in the first half of the national semifinal at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
The run started before the previous media timeout, as forward Aundre Jackson knocked down a pair of free throws, and continued it with a layup a little over two minutes later.
Loyola’s Marques Townes and Michigan’s Moritz Wagner traded two-point baskets, but Jackson trimmed the deficit down to a single possession with another pair of made free throws.
6:28 p.m.-MICHIGAN EXPANDS LEAD
Layups and transition play helped the Michigan Wolverines push out their lead over Loyola-Chicago to 12-4 and force the Ramblers to burn a timeout with 12:38 to play in the first half of the national semifinals from The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Out of the first media timeout, both teams were slow to get things going on the offensive end of the floor, but forward Moritz Wagner broke the nearly two-minute long scoring drought for the Wolverines with a layup, and two possessions later, Michigan improved on their lead when guard Charles Matthews got a layup to go despite being fouled.
Michigan center Jon Teske forced the Loyola-Chicago timeout when he got a tip-in put-back to fall after Matthews missed a layup.
Loyola-Chicago stopped the 9-0 Michigan run with a pair of free throws from forward Aundre Jackson at the 12:26 mark.
6:15 p.m.-MICHIGAN BURIES PAIR OF THREES FOR EARLY LEAD
After missed shots by both teams in the early going of The Final Four, the Michigan Wolverines found the three-point ball and buried a pair of triples, which gave them a 6-4 lead over Loyola-Chicago with 15:43 to play in the first half of the national semifinal from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Guard Charles Matthews initiated the scoring with a three-pointer from the right wing with 18:52 to play in the first half, and after a nearly three-minute scoring drought that allowed Loyola-Chicago to take a slim lead with a layup and short jumper on back-to-back possessions, Michigan got back on the board.
Michigan went back in front when forward Moritz Wagner connected on a three-pointer with 16:09 to play in the half.
4:30 p.m.-FINAL FOUR SET TO GET UNDERWAY IN SAN ANTONIO
From 68 down to The Final Four, there are only three games left in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, and all eyes are on the Alamodome in San Antonio as the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers, Michigan Wolverines, Kansas Jayhawks and Villanova Wildcats will battle it out for the right to call themselves National Champion.
Loyola and Michigan will get the action started in Semifinal No. 1 at 6:09 p.m., and two of the “blue bloods” of college basketball, Villanova and Kansas, will follow with a tipoff scheduled for 8:49 p.m.
The KENS 5 team is live at the Alamodome for the semifinals and will deliver a courtside view of the games, as well as a look around the arena to give a sense of the excitement surrounding the Final Four on social media.
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Veteran San Antonio sports writer David Flores will provide in-game analysis of the Final Four. Tweets by DavidFloresKENS
KENS 5 digital producers Cameron Songer and Javi Perez will join digital director Greg Matthews in delivering scene-setting content through social media. Tweets by CameronSonger Tweets by JaviPerezKENS5 Tweets by KENS5Greg