Depleted Villanova recovers form, beats Winthrop in NCAAs

Depleted Villanova recovers form, beats Winthrop in NCAAs
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 19: Jermaine Samuels #23 of the Villanova Wildcats drives to the basket against Micheal Anumba #3 of the Winthrop Eagles in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Division I MenÕs Basketball Tournament held at Indiana Farmers Coliseum on March 19, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Trevor Brown Jr/NCAA Photos via Getty Images) (Source: Trevor Brown Jr)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Villanova found a way to advance in the NCAA Tournament without Collin Gillespie.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 22 points and 12 rebounds, and the fifth-seeded Wildcats pulled away in the second half for a 73-63 victory over 12th-seeded Winthrop in the South Region on Friday night.

Villanova had lost both games since senior point guard and Big East co-player of the year Gillespie tore a ligament in his left knee during the Wildcats’ victory over then-No. 14 Creighton on March 3.

But Robinson-Earl delivered when the Wildcats needed him, making four free throws that launched a 9-0 run to give Villanova its biggest lead at 60-47. The Wildcats will face 13th-seeded North Texas in the second round on Sunday.

D.J. Burns Jr. led Winthrop with 12 points.

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