LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Ryan Arcidiacono and Kris Jenkins each scored 21 points, and No. 2 seed Villanova never trailed in routing third-seeded Miami 92-69 Thursday night in the South Region semifinal of the NCAA Tournament.
The Wildcats (32-5) are back in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2009, when they reached the Final Four. It’s their third trip to the regional final with coach Jay Wright. They turned in quite the offensive performance with former coach Rollie Massimino, who led Villanova to the 1985 national championship, sitting nearby.
Villanova will play either top-seeded Kansas or No. 5 seed Maryland on Saturday in the regional final.
Daniel Ochefu added 17 points, and Josh Hart had 14 for Villanova, which shot 62.7 percent (32 of 51).
Miami (27-8) now is 0-3 in this round and 0-2 with coach Jim Larranaga.
Sheldon McClellan scored 26 points for Miami, and Angel Rodriguez added 13.
Miami got here by beating a pair of double-digit seeds, Buffalo and Wichita State. Villanova showed the team from the Atlantic Coast Conference why the Wildcats were ranked No. 1 in the nation for the first time in program history earlier this season. It was the first game between the teams in the NCAA Tournament, and the first overall since March 2004, when both teams were in the Big East.
They turned in a dizzying first half with both teams shooting 64 percent — or better — from the floor and were even sharper beyond the arc where they combined to hit 13 of 19.
Villanova led 43-37 at halftime with Jenkins coming through with the highlight shot of the game, knocking down a 3 with his left foot on the edge of the logo covering midcourt that drew comparisons online to reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry.
But Villanova took control from the start by scoring the first eight points. The Wildcats also forced Miami into a bunch of turnovers early and scored some easy points off those mistakes. Villanova took its biggest lead at 29-14 on a 3-pointer by Jenkins with 8:35 left.
When Miami put together a 16-2 run that pulled the Canes within 31-30 on Rodriguez’s layup with 4:33 to go, Jenkins simply hit another 3. Miami never got that close again, and Villanova just padded its lead over the final minutes with each dunk or 3 giving Wildcats’ fans yet another reason to cheer.
Miami: The Hurricanes gave up the most points they’ve allowed in the first half this season to Villanova and the second-most points for a game. They gave up 96 to North Carolina on Feb. 20. ... Larranaga now is 1-1 against Villanova in this tournament. He coached George Mason to a win in 2011 in the round of 64. ... The Canes didn’t shoot badly. They were 25 of 47 (53.2 percent) overall and 10 of 17 from 3-point range.
Villanova: The Wildcats put on a shooting clinic all over the floor. They hit their first 15 free throws before finishing 18 of 19 at the line. They hit 10 of 15 beyond the arc as well. ... The Wildcats outrebounded Miami 27-17 and had an 18-9 scoring edge off turnovers.
Villanova will play either top-seeded Kansas or No. 5 seed Maryland on Saturday.