NCAA

Villanova beats No. 14 Florida State to win AdvoCare Invitational championship

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Villanova beats No. 14 Florida State to win AdvoCare Invitational championship

BOX SCORE

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Villanova is making a case to get back into the Top-25.

Collin Gillespie had a game-high 17 points, including two key late free throws, and the Wildcats won the AdvoCare Invitational by beating No. 14 Florida State 66-60.

"He loves the competition," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "I'm just glad he's on our side."

Gillespie made it 64-60 by connecting on a pair of free throws with 11.2 seconds to play in what was a tight second half.

Eric Paschall had 15 points and Phil Booth chipped in 12 for the defending national champions (5-2). Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree had 11 points and eight rebounds.

Villanova went from No. 8 to out of the Top 25 - the first time since December 2013 - in last Monday's poll after losing to Michigan 73-46 in a rematch of last season's championship game and losing 76-68 in overtime to Furman.

Florida State (5-1) got 11 points from both Mfiondu Kabengele and Trent Forrest.

"They did a much better job of playing to their strengths than we did ours," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "I thought our guys gave good effort. I think that we're a team that has a chance to develop into a pretty good basketball team."

The Seminoles' next game is Wednesday night against No. 24 Purdue.

"You only find out some of those areas that you need to work on when you play against great teams, high-caliber teams like we faced today," Hamilton said.

Villanova's Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo and Omari Spellman were all taken in the NBA draft after last year's championship run.

"We've grown so much," Wright said. "This whole season we've got to have a growth mindset."

Gillespie had nine point to help Villanova take a 26-25 halftime lead. The Wildcats (eight) and Florida State (nine) combined for 17 turnovers.

Saint Joseph's comeback bid comes up short vs. Florida

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Saint Joseph's comeback bid comes up short vs. Florida

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Keyontae Johnson saw Florida’s big lead shrink to almost nothing in the final minute. He made sure his teammates didn’t let this one get away from the Gators.

Johnson had a career-high 22 points to lead the Gators to a 70-62 victory over Saint Joseph’s at the Charleston Classic, playing without ejected leading scorer Kerry Blackshear Jr. on Thursday. Not that it came easily as Florida (3-2) saw its 18-point lead cut to 64-62 in the final minute.

“We just communicated, told everyone to stay together,” Johnson said. “We stayed locked in.”

The focus proved the difference as Florida hit six foul shots down the stretch while Saint Joseph’s missed two shots and committed a pair of turnovers.

“Down the stretch, I thought we showed a tremendous toughness,” Florida coach Mike White said.

The Gators needed it with Blackshear missing almost all of the game. He played three minutes in the first half after picking up two fouls. Then he was thrown out when he was battling underneath and his elbow looked like it hit Saint Joseph’s guard Taylor Funk. Blackshear, who came in averaging 14 points and 12 boards, was called for a flagrant two foul and sent off the court.

Blackshear’s departure seemed to energize the Hawks (2-3), who trailed 43-27 when the Florida star left the court. That’s when St. Joseph’s went on a 29-16 spurt to cut it to three points on Funk’s basket with six minutes left.

But Johnson followed with a basket and Andrew Nembhard made another to extend the lead.

St. Joseph’s had one last charge, slicing things to 64-62 on Ryan Daly’s layup in the final minute. The Hawks had several chances to tighten things, but could not. “We’re not going to go down easy,” Daly said.

Florida will take on Miami here Friday for a spot in the Charleston Classic finals.

The Hawks face Missouri State on Friday.

Johnson also had a game-high 12 rebounds. Nembhard added 16 points.

Florida took control quickly and appeared to make this a runaway as Noah Locke had two 3-pointers and Nembhard also hit one from behind the arc as the Gators went ahead 11-2 less than two minutes in and steadily built its lead.

St. Joseph’s had hit 34 first-half 3s combined its first four games. It made just one of its 14 long-range attempts this time as it fell behind.

Daly led the Hawks with 25 points.

Swider scores 26, No. 17 Villanova routs MTSU 98-69

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Swider scores 26, No. 17 Villanova routs MTSU 98-69

CONWAY, S.C. -- It’s been awhile since No. 17 Villanova shot this well from long range. Cole Swider has never scored like this.

Swider scored a career-high 26 points with six 3-pointers, and the Wildcats routed Middle Tennessee 98-69 on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Myrtle Beach Invitational.

Collin Gillespie added 16 points and hit four 3s, Justin Moore finished with 15 points and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 11 rebounds to help Villanova (3-1) - which never trailed, led by 35 and shot 57% while winning its second straight following a 25-point loss at No. 10 Ohio State.

And yet, another number in the box score caught coach Jay Wright’s eye - Swider’s seven rebounds.

“He’s more than just a shooter,” Wright said.

And the Wildcats have plenty of those. They made 18 3s - one shy of the school record, and their most since they also had 18 in a victory over Kansas at the 2018 Final Four.

“They have elite size with great shooters,” Middle Tennessee coach Nick McDevitt said, “and any short close-out or decent close-out results in three points.”

Eleven of them came during a first-half barrage that pushed the lead well into the 20s. Swider hit his fifth 3 from the corner shortly before the buzzer to put the Wildcats up 53-28 at halftime.

Saddiq Bey then took the lead to 30 with a 3-pointer two minutes into the second half.

Donovan Sims scored 18 points and C.J. Jones had 16 for the Blue Raiders (3-2). Leading scorer Antonio Green, averaging 23.5 points going into the game, finished with four points on 1-of-7 shooting while dealing with foul trouble.

“They’ve got a lot of interchangeable parts, so they were switching just to never let him see space,” McDevitt said.