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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The Battalion May 4, 2024

Villanova latest upset in Tampa

Whatever is in the water in Tampa, the underdogs in the other regional’s want a taste. For the first time in the NCAA tournament’s history, four 12 or lower seeds beat the higher seeds at one location and it was Villanova’s late night upset of streaking Clemson that made that fact official.
The Clemson Tigers were one of the hottest teams coming into the tournament, winning five of their last seven games, including wins over Duke, Miami, and a near upset of first overall seed North Carolina in the ACC Tournament Championship. Some one forgot to tell Clemson that since 1979 the Wildcats of Villanova have more upsets in the tournament than any other team. It would only be appropriate for such a team to be playing in Tampa with all that had gone on there. Villanova coach Jay Wright even game the events a name “Turmoil in Tampa”.
“We were watching all those games and we were watching the 5 vs. 12’s and hoping 12 doesn’t win because we know that usually happens,” said Wright. “We saw Western Kentucky-Drake and that was an upset and we’re like ‘All right, now we can’t do it’. Then we watched Siena do it then we watched UConn. It’s not going to happen four times in a row, there’s no way. But then again, once the game starts you forget about all that.”
Villanova wrapped up the day of upsets in comeback fashion, climbing up from an 18 point deficit to the Tigers at one point. In the end the Tigers couldn’t keep up with the deadly Wildcat combo of Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher. Reynolds scored 21 points and Fisher chipped in 17, the two were also deadly behind the arc. Villanova was 7-13 compared to Clemson’s 9-33 from three point range. The Wildcats barrage of late game three’s put them back into the game and eventually the lead.
“In this game we just wanted to be persistent, and keep grinding it out,” Reynolds said. “We had the mentality that it they’re going to beat us, it’s going to take 40 minutes.”
Reynolds hit the go ahead three for the Wildcats with 11:56 left to go in the game, which also gave Villanova it’s first lead of the night. The Wildcats and Tigers dueled the rest of the game but with 1:55 to go, Clemson tied the game at 66 care of two Demontez Stitt free throws. Nova’ took the lead back immediately and never relinquished it.
“Our guys know they want to battle,” said Wright. “Everybody’s hurt, everybody’s tired, everybody’s dehydrated. They just physically wore us down. But I tell you these guys right here, these two little guards play with so much heart, and they really grew up tonight.”

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