By: Zachary Fox
A more lackluster exit than the Mean Green had hoped for after the Villanova Wildcats overtook North Texas in round 2, 84 to 61. After an early North Texas lead, Villanova caught fire from beyond the arc via junior Cole Swider and sophomore Chris Arcidiacono. The number 10 defense was never infiltrated internally as much as it was through the air. Villanova was 15/30 (50%) from three and really ignited the remaining ten minutes in the first half which led to a 20 point UNT deficit at the half.
Despite a push midway through the second half to bring the deficit to 15, the Wildcats were ready for the push. Villanova used the three point arc and rebounding ability, as well as taking advantage of UNT’s turnovers to maintain the lead. Villanova moves on and will face the number one seed Baylor who won earlier in the day 76-63 over Wisconsin.
North Texas senior, Javion Hamlet’s goal in the tournament was to make a name for himself. After getting offers from Purdue and Gonzaga, he stuck with North Texas for his collegiate career and finally received the opportunity to perform on the NCAA’s biggest stage. Hamlet ended the night with 8/16 from the floor with 25 points and six rebounds.
Despite an early exit, the job was done. Respect was earned for the Mean Green and will no longer be a team many will quickly overlook in their bracket. Getting to the NCAA, making school history and shooting their shot against some of the nations greatest really dates back to Head Coach Grant McCasaland’s comments after the Conference USA Championship. “Really the heart behind all of it is that God’s put us in this position for a purpose that’s greater than just winning games”.
The taste for victory is there, don’t be surprised when the Mean Green use this early exit as fuel to make even more school history one year from now.