Super Nova: Villanova rolls into National Championship with rout of Oklahoma

The Villanova Wildcats are trying their best to channel their 1985 brethren. The 1985 National Champions own the best shooting percentage in a Final Four game.

So the 2016 Wildcats did their best to replicate that, earning the second best shooting percentage in Final Four history. A 71.4 percent shooting clip helped propel the Wildcats into the National Championship game on Monday night as they rolled to a 95-51 win over the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday night at NRG Stadium in Houston.

In the early going, the game was living up to the expectations. Both teams started strong from the floor and exchanged leads and with 11:15 to play, Villanova held a slight lead at 19-17.

That's when Villanova's first run started. An 18-4 run over the next seven minutes opened the lead up to 16 at 37-21. Oklahoma cut the lead to 11, but at the half, the Wildcats were up by 14, 42-28.

Oklahoma started to close the gap early in the second. After the teams exchanged several baskets, Oklahoma cut the lead to nine less than four minutes into the second on Jordan Woodard's layup off a missed free throw, giving Oklahoma four points on one possession. Jay Wright called a timeout.

Villanova followed the timeout by getting the lead back up to double figures at 13 with 12:57 to play. In the next six minutes, Villanova would pull off a 25-0 run to extend the lead to 38 with 7:04 remaining.

Well on their way to a win, the Wildcats did not back down from there, holding Oklahoma to just 10 points in the final seven minutes while increasing their total by 16 to finish the game with the largest margin of victory in the history of the Final Four at 44.

Villanova shot 71.4 percent from the floor, second highest in Final Four history only to the 1985 National Champion Wildcats, and also posted a 61.1 three-point percentage.

Josh Hart led the way, going 10-of-12 from the floor and scoring a team-high 23 points. Kris Jenkins, Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu each finished in double figures as well. Jenkins added 18 points and tied for the team-high in rebounds with eight. Arcidiacono had 15 points and Ochefu had 10 points.

In addition, two more Wildcats off the bench reached double figures. Mikal Bridges had 11 points and Phil Booth had 10 points. 

Defensively, Villanova held a high-scoring Oklahoma team to 51 total points and completely shut down its stars. Buddy Hield, who was averaging 29.3 points per game in the Tournament coming into Saturday's game, was held to just nine points. Woodard led the way with 12 points. 

Overall, the Sooners were held to 31.7 percent shooting and went just 6-of-22 from beyond the three-point line. Villanova forced 17 turnovers in the win and Oklahoma committed 20 fouls compared to Villanova's 11. Villanova also had just 11 turnovers.

The Wildcats also outrebounded Oklahoma, 32-26.

Villanova will now move on to Monday and the National Championship where they will face No. 1 seed North Carolina. The Tar Heels defeated Syracuse, 83-66, to advance.

Jay Wright and Villanova met with North Carolina and Roy Williams in the Final Four in 2009, with North Carolina claiming the win en route to a National Championship. In 1985, the Wildcats defeated North Carolina in the Elite Eight to move on to the Final Four.

Tip off on Monday in the National Championship game from Houston is set for 9 p.m.

Kevin Durso is editorial assistant for Sports Talk Philly. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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