Villanova’s quest to repeat as National Champions came to an end on Saturday as the top-seed Wildcats lost to Wisconsin, 65-62, in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. The victory in a back and forth game will send the Badgers to New York City for the Sweet 16.
Wisconsin controlled much of the first half playing without star sophomore Ethan Happ who was battling foul trouble. The Badgers who took a four-point lead into the intermission saw a new Wildcat squad in the second half.
‘Nova, who finishes the season with a 34-4 record, attacked the rim quickly entering the game after the half to even the score at 37 just five minutes in.
Between the heroic efforts of Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo, who scored 19 and 15 respectively, the Wildcats grabbed the lead at the 12:50 mark. Nova’s lead increased to seven after DiVincenzo’s 3-pointer gave the ‘Cats a 57-50 lead with 5:30 to play.
However, the Badgers closed the game out on a 15-5 run with Nigel Hayes, who led Wisconsin with 19, hitting a baseline shot to put the red team up 64-26 with 11.4 seconds to play.
Super Senior, Player of the Year candidate, Josh Hart was unable to even the score on Villanova’s final possession against the Big Ten’s second-best team.
Hart, Kris Jenkins, and Darryl Reynolds end their Wildcat career as the winningest class in the University’s history. A career that saw them win four Big 5 titles, four BIG EAST Regular Season Championships, two BIG EAST Tournament Championships and the 2016 National Championship.