Mount St. Joe grad Phil Booth shines on hoops biggest college stage

The Baltimore Sun
Mount St. Joe grad Phil Booth stars for Villanova in Monday's NCAA championship game win over North Carolina

The hallways at Mount Saint Joseph are no doubt filled with chatter Tuesday morning, chests puffed out.

One of the school's own -- 2014 grad Phil Booth-- was on the grandest stage in men's college basketball last night and he owned it.

The Villanova sophomore guard came off the bench and scored a team high 20 points -- also his career high -- as the Wildcats claimed a thrilling 77-74 win over North Carolina in what many are already considering the finest NCAA title game ever.

Booth, a four-year standout for the Gaels and The Sun's All-Metro Player of the Year as a senior, came into Monday's big game averaging 6.7 points this season.  He left it a hero.

He went 6-for-7 from the field, making both 3 point tries and calmly sank all six free throws he took.  He hit baskets when the shot clock was winding down in the critical second half, showed no panic at the free throw line late in the game when his teammates were faltering a bit there.

Booth became the second Mount St. Joseph player under veteran coach Pat Clatchey to reach the NCAA Final Four -- Will Thomas was a sophomore starter for George Mason's Cinderella team in 2006. 

When asked to share his feelings during and after the game with occasional text messages, Clatchey described Booth's performance as 'Seizing the moment!' with his play 'Poised, confident, tough, skilled -- the total package.'

Booth couldn't have made his high school coach prouder. 

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