NEW YORK (AP) — JayVaughn Pinkston had the go-ahead basket and game-saving block in the final minute to lift No. 12 Villanova over No. 19 Michigan 60-55 in the Legends Classic championship game Tuesday night.
Pinkston put the Wildcats (5-0) up 56-55 with a spin for separation and a one-handed bucket with 13.4 seconds left. He then had a clean stuff on Zak Irvin's dunk attempt off an inbounds pass with 5 seconds left.
Ryan Arcidiacono sealed the win with four free throws.
Tournament MVP Dylan Ennis led the Wildcats with 15 points. Pinkston finished with eight points and nine rebounds.
Caris LeVert had 16 points for Michigan (4-1). LeVert put the Wolverines up 55-54 and flexed his muscles in the direction of Villanova players.
The lead swung both ways multiple times over the final 3 minutes.
Ennis hit a tying 3-pointer with 2:25 left and Josh Hart, a 50 percent free throw shooter, made one of two from the line for a 52-51 Villanova lead.
Then it was Michigan's turn. LeVert, who opened some eyes on the big stage in New York, hit a fallaway for a 53-52 lead. Pinkston's basket off the glass gave it right back to Villanova.
It was just the first clutch shot for Pinkston, who grew up about 15 minutes away from the Barclays Center neighborhood.
His go-ahead shot turned Villanova's bench into a giant welcoming party as he ran to greet his teammates. Pinkston's lone block of the game spared the Wildcats from succumbing to one more Michigan rally.
The Wolverines had plenty of fight in the second half.
Michigan snapped a cold spell in a big way to rally its way back into the game. The Wolverines, who missed 12 straight shot at one point, suddenly could not miss.
After his team was down 38-31 only 2 minutes earlier, Spike Albrecht hit a go-ahead 3 for a one-point lead.
Michigan used no-look — and no-D — passes to shred Villanova inside with a string of uncontested dunks. Ricky Doyle, who had fans chanting his name in Monday night's win over Oregon, screamed after two big dunks made it 47-41 and put the Wolverines in control.
The Wolverines went on a 16-3 run built on uncontested dunks and layups that added to the cushion late in the game.
Arcidiacono nailed a 3 and Pinkston made two free throws that cut it to 51-48.
Michigan and Villanova, two of the most decorated programs in college basketball, played each other for the first time since the 1985 NCAA tournament.
The eighth-seeded Wildcats won games against Dayton, top-seeded Michigan, No. 5 Maryland, No. 2 North Carolina, and No. 2 Memphis State before defeating Georgetown 66-64 in the title game that year to become the lowest-seeded team to win a national championship.
Thirty years later, they met again in a November game stuffed with March intensity.
The Wildcats held Michigan scoreless over the final 7:10 of the first half and used a 9-0 run to lead 27-20 at the break.
Ennis had the defensive play of Villanova's young season with a block late in the first half. D.J. Wilson, 6-foot-9, tried a right-handed dunk that was met with a right-handed rejection from the 6-2 Ennis. Ennis landed on his tailbone after his epic elevation sent 'Nova fans into a frenzy.
Villanova: The Wildcats missed their only two free throw attempts in the first half.
Michigan: The Wolverines did not attempt a free throw in the first half. ... The Wolverines called three timeouts in about 25 seconds early in the second half. They had only one left over the final 15 minutes.
Villanova hosts Delaware on Sunday.
Michigan hosts Nicholls State on Sunday.