Villanova Breaks Free of West Virginia in the Second Half to Win

BOSTON — After Villanova watched University of Maryland, Baltimore County, complete its unforgettable upset over top-seeded Virginia from a hotel room in Pittsburgh, Coach Jay Wright said nothing to his team.

“You didn’t have to,” he said.

His players understood the significance. It was history — the first time a No. 16 seed had won a first-round game in the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament. And it was a reminder: No one is unbeatable, not even the Wildcats, the No. 1 seed in the East region.

After gliding through its first two games, Villanova met an opponent, No. 5 seed West Virginia, that can be tougher to kill than a cockroach. But a second-half surge propelled the Wildcats to the round of 8 with a 90-78 victory at TD Garden.

There is a balletic quality to the Wildcats when their offense is running on all cylinders. The Mountaineers, on the other hand, came looking for a street fight.

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