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.

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

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. 

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

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.

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

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.

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:

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.

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