Duke beats Arkansas 78-69, sends Coach K to 13th Final Four
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s farewell tour is headed to his record-setting 13th Final Four after Duke overwhelmed Arkansas 78-69 on Saturday night in the Blue Devils’ most complete performance of this NCAA Tournament run.
A.J. Griffin scored 18 points, Paolo Banchero added 16 and and second-seeded Duke (32-6) frustrated fourth-seeded Arkansas (28-9) on the offensive end to get back to the Final Four for the first time since Krzyzewski won his fifth championship in 2015.
Coach K will try to follow the path of the only coach to win more NCAA men’s titles as John Wooden won his 10th championship in his final season at UCLA in 1975. Krzyzewski broke the tie he had with Wooden for most Final Four appearances with the commanding win over the Razorbacks.
Duke’s upcoming matchup in New Orleans next Saturday will be historic either way — either its first NCAA Tournament meeting with archrival North Carolina or an unfathomable tangle in the national semifinals with 15th-seeded Saint Peter’s.
The Blue Devils were in control for most of the second half, using an 10-0 run after Arkansas had cut the deficit to five points early in the half to open up a big cushion.
Jaylin Williams led Arkansas with 19 points and 10 rebounds and JD Notae had 14 points before fouling out. The Razorbacks shot 41.9% for the game.
VILLANOVA 50, HOUSTON 44
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Jermaine Samuels had 16 points and 10 rebounds as Villanova advanced to its third Final Four in the last six NCAA Tournaments with a grind-it-out victory over Houston.
Caleb Daniels added 14 points for the Wildcats (30-7), and fifth-year senior Collin Gillespie’s only made field goal was a clutch shot late.
With both teams willing to limit possessions, the first spot for this year’s Final Four in New Orleans was settled in a game that was ugly to watch with all the missed shots.
Villanova shot 28.8% from the field (15 of 52). The Cougars were only slightly better at 29.8% (17 of 57), missing their last five shots and 10 of 11 overall, and they made only one of their of 20 attempted 3-pointers in their lowest-scoring NCAA tourney game ever.
The Wildcats and coach Jay Wright won’t complain as he seeks to add a third national title to the ones he won in 2016 and 2018. Villanova will play either Kansas, the only No. 1 seed remaining, or 10th-seeded Miami next Saturday as it seeks its fourth championship overall.
Taze Moore had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Cougars (32-6), who were denied making consecutive Final Four appearances for the first time since 1982-84.
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