Donte DiVincenzo: 'Different Type of Energy' in 2018 National Championship Game

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2018

Villanova's Donte DiVincenzo cuts the net as he celebrates after the championship game of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Michigan, Monday, April 2, 2018, in San Antonio. Villanova won 79-62. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo played the game of a lifetime on the stage of a lifetime Monday, leading his Villanova Wildcats to a national championship with 31 points off the bench in a 79-62 victory over the Michigan Wolverines.

Despite the heroics, he pointed to his teammates' effort when discussing his performance at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

"Honestly, it was a credit to these guys up here," DiVincenzo said of Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges, per Jeff Borzello of ESPN.com. "[The Wolverines] did a great job of making it difficult for Jalen and Mikal, and they were just making the right play. They were trying to be aggressive, and they were finding me. And Omari [Spellman] was setting great screens and getting me open."

He did recognize that his ability to go 10-of-15 from the field and 5-of-7 from deep proved critical as well: "When you're knocking down shots like that and you're feeling it offensively, it just brings a different type of energy."

Part of what makes the Wildcats so dangerous offensively is that so many guys can turn in a head-turning showing.

With Brunson struggling (4-of-13) and in foul trouble, the Big East's Sixth Man of the Year attacked the lane and took advantage of open looks on the outside for 18 first-half points. That helped Villanova turn an early 21-14 deficit into a 37-28 halftime lead, and it never looked back.

He also drilled daggers in the second half with back-to-back three-pointers after Michigan climbed to within 12.

"When he came off and hit those threes, we could not answer," Wolverines head coach John Beilein said. "I wish we would have maybe gone out and doubled him or something. ... But he still made some really long shots that I don't think there's a defense for."

Attention will soon turn to DiVincenzo's follow-up act, especially if Brunson and Mikal Bridges head to the NBA this offseason.

DiVincenzo proved he can carry the backcourt on the biggest stage, and he would still likely team up with Phil Booth, Eric Paschall and Spellman to form a potent offensive core capable of making another run at the title in 2018-19.

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