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Bench Player Carries Villanova To Second Title In Three Years Over Michigan

Donte DiVincenzo of the Villanova Wildcats drives to the basket Monday night against Isaiah Livers of the Michigan Wolverines in the first half during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome in San Antonio. DiVincenzo came off the bench to score 18 points in the half and 31 in the game.

Through the first seven minutes of Monday night's men's college basketball championship in San Antonio, the Michigan Wolverines were feeling good. They'd held Villanova's vaunted, best-in-the-nation offense to eight points, running their shooters off the three-point line while pounding the ball inside to German giant Moe Wagner.

Then the Wildcats' Donte DiVincenzo got up off the bench.

The sophomore guard dropped in 18 points on 8-10 shooting before halftime, providing nearly half of Villanova's scoring as they went into the locker room up 37-28. Michigan never got close again and Villanova won its second title in three years, 79-62.

DiVincenzo finished with 31 points — a title game record — plus 5 rebounds and two emphatic blocked shots. Junior guard Mikal Bridges added another 19 points.

Wagner finished with 16 points and 7 rebounds for the Wolverines, struggling to find his rhythm again after Villanova switched defensive tactics against him in the first half, focusing on keeping the ball out of the junior forward's hands. Senior guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman had 23 points.

The win marks the second athletic title in three months for the Philadelphia area, following the Eagles win over the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Just as the city did ahead of that game, the suburban school had light poles on campus greased to keep celebrating fans from doing anything too dangerous.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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