Given the cancellation of this year’s NCAA Tournament, we have decided to use the next few weeks to look back and remember Villanova’s greatest tournament successes of the past. We will be walking through Villanova’s three National Championships on a game-by-game basis. So, as you’re locked inside quarantining and social distancing, share your thoughts, memories, and stories as we relive Villanova’s greatest moments.
#8 Villanova Wildcats vs. #2 Memphis State Tigers
March 30, 1985
Tune in to the VUHoops’ screening of the 1985 National Semifinal between #8 Villanova and #2 Memphis State TONIGHT AT 7:00 p.m. EST.
The game should play simultaneously for all who are watching so please take part in the live game chat!
Link: VUHoops Re-Watch
By: ROY S. JOHNSON
If it wasn’t already a brassy celebration of Big East basketball, it certainly is now. For Villanova, which finished with the fourth-best overall record in the conference, eliminated the lone interloper, Memphis State, 52-45, this afternoon to earn a berth in the national collegiate basketball championship final.
The victory set up an all-Big East final with the Wildcats facing Georgetown, last year’s champion, Monday night.
The Wildcats raised their record to 24-10 by defeating the favored Tigers (31-4) on the strength of their deceptive array of zone defenses and their unwavering poise, which was exemplified by three of their seniors who guided them through this unlikely journey - the center Ed Pinckney, Dwayne McClain at forward and the fiery point guard, Gary McLain.
That defense - a zone influenced by the principles of the man-to-man - held the Tigers to their lowest point total of the season, allowing them to make only 19 of 50 shots from the field for 38 percent, and keeping them virtually off the free-throw line. The Tigers took only nine shots from the free-throw line and made seven, while the Wildcats, whose game plan, in part, was to attempt to take advantage of their foul-prone opponents, hit 20 of their 26 free throws.
The first half ended in a 23-all deadlock, but the Tigers burst out to a 31- 28 lead by scoring on four of their first five possessions of the second half. That lead melted as the Wildcats - who had discovered a seam in the Tigers’ forest-like defense that allowed Pinckney to get open near the basket - outscored the Tigers by 13-2 over the next 6:25 to build a 41-33 advantage.
With the Wildcats in the forefront again, the students in the St. John’s and Georgetown sections, at the opposite end of the floor from the Villanova and Memphis State sections, began cheering loudly for their conference brethren, chanting, ‘’Big East! Big East! Big East!’’