RECAP: No. 5 Villanova shoots lights out, eliminates No. 12 North Texas

Mar 21, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Villanova Wildcats forward Jermaine Samuels (23) grabs a rebound against North Texas Mean Green forward Zachary Simmons (24) in the second half in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl scored 18 points, Jermaine Samuels added 15 points and nine rebounds and No. 5 seed Villanova cruised past No. 13 North Texas 84-61 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament’s South Region Sunday in Indianapolis.

Justin Moore contributed 15 points and Caleb Daniels had 11 for the Wildcats (18-6), who will face No. 1 Baylor in the Sweet Sixteen.

Eight different Villanova players made at least one 3-pointer to tie an all-time NCAA Tournament single-game record.

After defeating No. 12 Winthrop, Villanova won again without co-Big East Player of the Year Collin Gillespie, who’s recovering from a season-ending torn MCL.

Javion Hamlet led North Texas with 25 points while Mardrez McBride added 11. James Reese also had 10.

The Mean Green, who upset No. 4 seed Purdue in the first round for their first career NCAA Tournament win, finished their season at 18-10. They won four games in four days in the Conference USA tournament to earn a tourney berth.

North Texas jumped out to a 21-13 lead when Hamlet dropped in a runner in the lane with 11:32 left in the first half.

Villanova scored the next 13 points, including 3-pointers by Bryan Antoine and Chris Arcidiacono, and it went ahead 26-21 with eight minutes remaining.

After Hamlet hit a short jumper to halt the spurt, Moore responded with a three-point play for a 29-23 advantage. Cole Swider then made consecutive treys and the Wildcats’ lead extended to 35-23.

Villanova led 47-27 at halftime thanks in large part to 9-of-15 shooting from beyond the arc. Hamlet paced the Mean Green with 11 points by halftime. It was their largest halftime deficit all season.

Hamlet knocked down a trey with 16:42 to go, but North Texas still trailed 50-32.

On Villanova’s next possession, Robinson-Earl hit a 3-pointer and the lead quickly moved to 21.

McBride drained a 3-pointer, Hamlet converted a difficult driving layup and the Mean Green soon pulled within 55-40 with 14:00 remaining.

The Wildcats came back with a 12-2 run and they led 67-42 with 8:52 left. Robinson-Earl keyed the run with a trey and a jumper from the wing.

North Texas never posed a serious threat the rest of the game.

–Field Level Media