Monday night in San Antonio a redheaded sophomore from Delaware made everyone remember something other than The Alamo.
Villanova’s sixth man Donte DiVincenzo went Carl Crawford off the bench, sinking 31 career high points, lifting his fellow Wildcats past the Wolverines, for their sixth double-digit victory of the tournament and second national title in three seasons.
For the majority of the game, the 6 foot 5 shooting guard was everywhere the Wolverines didn’t want him to be. He darted through the lane, delivered from downtown (5-7) and had two highlight-reel rejections to go along with five boards and three assists.
Jalen Brunson, playing the part of DiVincenzo’s sidekick, had a quiet nine points having to sit on the sidelines for most of the second half saddled with four fouls. Displaying Villanova’s selfless spirit Brunson said, “It just shows how much depth we have, and that we don’t care who gets the credit.”
Michigan came out of the gate with grit, led by Moe Wagner, picking up where he left off against Loyola. The star center scored nine of the team’s first 11 points, but cooled down with the rest of his cronies who couldn’t penetrate Villanova’s much improved defense nor keep pace with the Wildcats up-tempo style of offense.
When DiVincenzo caught fire, there was no doubt even in Michigan coach John Beilin’s mind that his club wasn’t going home with any hardware. “The way DiVincenzo shot the ball, it was just incredible for us to try to win that game with the roll he went on.”
In recognition of a job well done, the talented guard was crowned the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. After competing hard to secure a starting five spot this season, which didn’t land in his favor, it’ll be interesting to see how DiVincenzo fares when the line-up is learned in the fall.
Regardless of his fate, while people will remember that Brunson was named Naismith Player of the Year, on the court where the San Antonio Spurs jingle, jangle, jingle, DiVincenzo will be remembered as the best player of the night.