No. 18 Villanova Stuns No. 1 Kansas 56-55 Behind Jermaine Samuels' 15 Points

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 21, 2019

Villanova's Saddiq Bey (41) goes up for a dunk past Kansas's Ochai Agbaji (30) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Another week, and another No. 1 team has gone down.

No. 18 Villanova became the latest college basketball team to pull off the upset, earning a 56-55 win Saturday over No. 1 Kansas. Just seven weeks into the 2019-20 season, five different top-ranked teams have lost games.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Another No. 1 goes down as No. 18 Villanova tops Kansas 56-55. It's already the fifth time this year an AP No. 1 has lost, the most before January in AP Poll history. Jermaine Samuels: 15 points, including go-ahead three-pointer with 20 seconds left. https://t.co/CCV9w0tgO7

Jermaine Samuels hit the go-ahead shot for the Wildcats with 24 seconds remaining after his squad trailed by four points late.

FOX College Hoops @CBBonFOX

JERMAINE. SAMUELS. @J_Swizz23 hits the CLUTCH three to put @NovaMBB on top 🔥🔥 https://t.co/S8eKVaFiWe

Devon Dotson then had several chances to give Kansas the lead, but he missed a key free throw and then a layup in the closing seconds. The guard scored 15 for Kansas (9-2), which suffered its first loss since opening night against Duke. 

Samuels was the key factor for Villanova (9-2), scoring 12 of his 15 points in the second half in front of the home crowd at the Wells Fargo Center.


Notable Stats

  • Devon Dotson, G, Kansas: 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists
  • Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas: 12 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks
  • Saddiq Bey, G, Villanova: Seven points, seven rebounds, five assists
  • Jermaine Samuels, G, Villanova: 15 points, five rebounds


Balanced Attack Helps Villanova Survive Win

It was an ugly shooting game from both sides early on, and the score sat at 23-23 at halftime. 

Dana O'Neil @DanaONeilWriter

All tied at the half. Like the first half never happened which, considering the shooting 🤢, I'd be OK with.

However, Villanova stayed in front after getting production from a variety of sources.

FOX College Hoops @CBBonFOX

🔥🔥 @JCREarl with the clutch three-pointer to give @NovaMBB their biggest lead of the game https://t.co/unHl2LhWV3

FOX College Hoops @CBBonFOX

💪😤 l@NovaMBB with the hustle on the offensive boards to set up @Colling1021 for the three https://t.co/l0R2GTl4cr

The outside shooting was miserable, but six different players hit threes, and they all seemed to come at important times.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Samuels had big stretches during the second half, while Collin Gillespie helped despite shooting only 2-of-10 from three-point range.

FOX College Hoops @CBBonFOX

😮 @Colling1021 picked his pocket on this one He comes up with the clutch steal and brings @NovaMBB within two https://t.co/MoDgXZ3RZ9

Saddiq Bey was also all over the court without getting his usual scoring numbers.

Jay King @ByJayKing

I haven’t watched a lot of Villanova this year, but why is Saddiq Bey not considered an automatic first-round pick? Dude is 6-8 and long with guard skills, court vision and he’s shooting 54.1-44.4-84.4 splits.

Sam Vecenie @Sam_Vecenie

Even in a game where the shot isn’t falling, I really love what Saddiq Bey is doing on the floor. Five assists, bunch of rebounds, smart defense. He’s gone way underrated this year

Jeff Goodman @GoodmanHoops

That was tremendous defense by Saddiq Bey on that last possession.

It was enough to pull out a hard-fought win against one of the best teams in the nation.


Offense Can't Match Defense for Kansas

As has often been the case this year, Kansas' defense fueled it against Villanova.

The Wildcats entered the day No. 3 in the country in offensive efficiency, per KenPom, but the Jayhawks held them to 34.9 percent shooting overall and 24.4 percent (10-of-41) from three-point range.

FOX College Hoops @CBBonFOX

Defense ➡️ Offense @KUHoops is starting to heat up in the first half! 🔥🔥 https://t.co/gPlj3Pf1YW

FOX College Hoops @CBBonFOX

Udoka Azubuike with the BLOCK to keep things tied headed into halftime for @KUHoops 🖐😤 https://t.co/TWUKRpIi7n

However, they couldn't muster enough offense to stay in front of the Wildcats.

Junior guard Marcus Garrett suffered a leg injury in the first half and was ruled out by halftime, per Andy Katz of Turner Sports.

While he averages fewer than 10 points per game, this was a significant loss for the Jayhawks:

Fran Fraschilla @franfraschilla

.@KUHoops has a lot of firepower but Marcus Garrett is the most underrated third best player on a team in the country. Hope this is not a serious injury.

CJ Moore @CJMooreHoops

KU is 31.8 points per 100 possessions better with Marcus Garrett on the floor coming into today, per hooplens. That's tied for the best on the team with Udoka. Does so many things to make KU better. https://t.co/fAySgiI3SC

Kansas missed his shooting and finished 3-of-13 from three-point range.

In Garrett's absence, depth became a glaring problem for the Jayhawks.

Dotson and Udoka Azubuike had strong performances with a combined 27 points, and Ochai Agbaji added 11, but the team scored its final point with 1:49 remaining.

Combined with its 4-of-10 shooting from the free-throw line, Kansas left town with a missed opportunity.


What's Next?

Villanova will get more than a week off before beginning conference play with a home game against Xavier on Dec. 30. Kansas will go on the other side of the country for a tough road game against Stanford on Dec. 29.