HOUSTON — Villanova flipped the script on Oklahoma and then some.
Guard Josh Hart scored 23 points, leading the Wildcats’ 71 percent shooting from the field in a 95-51 rout of the Sooners in an NCAA Tournament semifinal on Saturday evening at NRG Stadium.
Earlier this season in Hawaii, Oklahoma made 14 of 26 3-pointers for a 23-point victory over a Villanova team that shot a season-low 32 percent from the field. But the Wildcats avenged the December loss when it mattered most.
Villanova (34-5) will face the winner of Saturday’s second semifinal between North Carolina and Syracuse in the national championship game on Monday night.
Villanova is back in the NCAA Tournament final for the first time since Rollie Massimino’s 10th-seeded Wildcats defeated Georgetown for the national championship in 1985.
The Wildcats already led the Sooners 52-39 before hitting 9 of 10 shots from the field during a game-sealing 20-2 run.
The spark came when Wildcats forward Kris Jenkins threw over the top of the Oklahoma press to guard Mikal Bridges, who finished the fast break with a dunk and was fouled. Bridges hit the free throw to give Villanova a 59-41 lead with 11:53 left.
The Sooners (29-8) couldn’t get stops on defense and suffered through 32 percent shooting from the floor.
Villanova held national player of the year Buddy Hield to nine points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field, including 1 of 8 from beyond the arc. Guard Jordan Woodard led the Sooners with 12 points.
Jenkins scored 18 points and guard Ryan Arcidiacono added 15 to help Hart propel the Wildcats.
Villanova gained separation in the first half using a 12-0 run that coincided with Oklahoma’s scoring drought of almost six minutes.
Bridges started the surge with a 3-pointer. Hart followed with two straight baskets, grabbing a rebound and pivoting through the lane for a layup on the second one.
Jenkins kept the run going with a 3-pointer and a layup on consecutive trips down the floor. Then Hart, who had 15 points in the first half, capped the surge with a layup for a 30-21 lead with 5:48 left before the break.
Oklahoma began to punch back when reserve forward Jamuni McNeace and forward Ryan Spangler each made inside baskets.
But Villanova found its rhythm again for a 7-0 run and its largest lead of the first half at 16 points.
Arcidiacono put up a 3-point attempt that bounced high off the front of the rim and then rattled in. Hart followed with a layup that put Villanova ahead 37-21 with 4:07 left in the half.
The Wildcats forced Oklahoma in nine turnovers that led to 15 points in the first 20 minutes.
Hield led Oklahoma with seven points on 3-of-8 shooting from the field before the break.
NOTES: Oklahoma and Villanova played earlier this season when the Sooners hit 14 3-pointers and claimed a 78-55 win in the Pearl Harbor Invitational in Honolulu. Villanova shot a season-low 32 percent from the field. … Villanova, which is playing in its fifth Final Four, traveled to a Final Four in Houston for the second time in school history. The Wildcats played in the Final Four in the Astrodome (next door to NRG Stadium) in 1971, defeating Western Kentucky in the semifinal and losing to UCLA in the championship game. … Oklahoma senior G Buddy Hield, who was named the USBWA Oscar Robertson Player of the Year on Friday, entered the game averaging 25.4 points this season. He had scored 25 or more points in 18 games with a high of 46 in a loss to Kansas on Jan. 4.