February 8, 2023

Coach Cain’s career continues as Duke joins Villanova in the final four

Look at Villanova’s attack numbers in the vacuum, it would be hard to believe that those figures reflected a successful outcome.

But at the defensive slugfest between the No. 2 Wildgates and the fifth-placed Houston Cookers, the insignificant amounts felt more important than they suggested. After 40 minutes, a lot of stops and seemingly more mistakes, Villanova topped the 50-44 victory, which would send it to the final four.

Where to start? Naturally, in one.

How Houston played so many three-points. The Cooks missed their other 19 attempts. They hit 29.8 percent off the field.

For a game where offensive struggles were expected, Houstons proved to be dangerous. Its highest scorer, Days Moore, made a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. But he missed 15 of the 21 shots to get there. Jamal Sheet and Kyler Edwards, the other members of Houston’s opener, made 5 of 25 shots and made none of their 13 three-point attempts.

Villanova, for its part, did not win pretty well. It took place below the competition average (75.5 points in two games).

Jermaine Samuels, a newcomer to the 2018 National Championship team, led the Wild Gates with 16 points out of 6 in 10 shots, and 10 rebounds, usually on defense boards, helped defend possession against an attacking team. Caleb Daniels gave Villanova 12 points, although his shooting accuracy (25 percent) reflects the overall team.

Villanova will not advance without injury for its success. Second lead Justin Moore lost his last-minute injury. It is not clear if his condition is improving.