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

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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.

Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton: Jonathan Isaac 'a great fit wherever he goes'

Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton: Jonathan Isaac 'a great fit wherever he goes'

In case you hadn't noticed, the Sixers have shown an affinity for selecting big men in the first round of the NBA draft in recent years.

With such a glut of centers and power forwards on the current roster, they wouldn't possibly go that route again when on the clock June 22, right?

Don't rule it out.

Florida State product Jonathan Isaac is the top PF prospect on draft boards. His former head coach thinks Isaac's name will be called early on draft night (perhaps even to the Sixers) mainly because of the one-and-done's ability to adapt.

"There's no question that Jonathan is one of the rare guys that I've coached over the years to say, 'Coach, what do you need me to do?'" FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton said via phone Monday on CSN's Philly Sports Talk. "From game to game, his role changed in relation to what we needed. I think he's a guy that kind of thinks more like a coach sometimes than really a lot of young guys would think because he has that level of maturity.

"I think he's going to be a great fit wherever he goes because he's a great teammate and he has all those intangible skills — dribble, pass, shoot, decision making. And even though he's slender, he's a lot stronger than he looks."

If you've watched Isaac play, you know Hamilton isn't just pumping up one of his guys. While Isaac's numbers won't wow anyone (12.0 points, 7.8 rebounds). That's mainly because he deferred to his veteran teammates, but the lanky freshman was still able to impact the game on both ends of the floor every night to help lead the Seminoles to a 26-9 record and NCAA Tournament berth.

"On our basketball team, he only averaged 12 points a game. He made all the big shots we needed him to, but he probably accounted for about 35 points per game because of his IQ," Hamilton said. "He has no problem making the pass to the guy who gets the assist. He makes great decisions. He was really my go-to guy in a lot of ways other than maybe having to be the guy who scores the points. He was the guy who was so instrumental in the success we had last year. He always came through with big rebounds, big blocked shots, the timely assists, getting the steal, catching the lobs.

"He has so many intangible things that he brings to the table and he is not one-dimensional. A lot of guys get recognition because they do a lot of scoring, but Jonathan is a stat stuffer from all aspects."

That certainly sounds like a player the Sixers could use. Whether the Sixers would use the No. 3 pick on Isaac or trade down to select him remains to be seen (see the case for Isaac to the Sixers).

Either way, adding a young player with such a versatile skill set that continues to get bigger and better to Sixers' group can only help speed up "the process."

"There's no question that his best basketball is ahead of him," Hamilton said. "You have to take into consideration he was 6-3. Now he's 6-10, 6-10½. Actually, I think he's closer to 6-11 than he is 6-10. But he has that whole framework of a guy who is going to continue keep getting better and better and better."

NCAA Tournament Wrap: Northwestern wins first-ever tournament game

NCAA Tournament Wrap: Northwestern wins first-ever tournament game

SALT LAKE CITY -- Northwestern got its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory, 68-66 over Vanderbilt, after Commodores guard Matthew Fisher-Davis inexplicably grabbed Wildcats guard Bryant McIntosh on purpose, sending McIntosh to the free throw line for the go-ahead points with 15 seconds left.

Riley LaChance made a layup with 18 seconds remaining in Thursday's game to put the ninth-seeded Commodores up by one after trailing by as many as 15.

But seconds after the in-bounds pass, Fisher-Davis reached out and grabbed McIntosh while he was in the backcourt. That put eighth-seeded Northwestern in the double bonus, and McIntosh went to the line and calmly swished the free throws with 15 seconds left.

LaChance missed a 3 on the next possession and eighth-seeded Northwestern (24-11) got another free throw (see full recap).

11-seed Xavier upends 6-seed Maryland 76-65 in NCAA tourney
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Trevon Bluiett scored 21 points and Sean O'Mara had 18 to help No. 11 seed Xavier upset sixth-seeded Maryland 76-65 during the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night.

The Musketeers move on in the West region, marking the third straight year they have advanced to the second round. Maryland, which has started three freshmen for much the season, lost in the first round for the first time since 1997.

After a slow start, Bluiett came through with 18 second-half points to help the Musketeers rally from an early 6-point deficit. Bluiett converted seven field goals, including five 3-pointers to energize Xavier.

Freshman Kevin Huerter led the Terps with 19 points while star guard Melo Trimble had 13 points, but made only one-third of his shots (see full recap) .

Middle Tennessee takes down Big Ten's Minnesota 81-72
MILWAUKEE -- Reggie Upshaw scored 19 points, Giddy Potts added 15 and Middle Tennessee took down another Big Ten team in the NCAA Tournament, beating Minnesota 81-72 on Thursday.

Twelfth-seeded Middle Tennessee proved it was no one-year wonder after upsetting Michigan State as a No. 15 seed last March.

The Blue Raiders (31-4) instead played like seasoned NCAA veterans with the way they held off the Gophers' comeback attempt from a 17-point deficit in front of a loud and large contingent of Minnesota fans.

Upshaw responded with seven straight points, including a 3-pointer and a reverse layup during a 7-3 run to help give Middle Tennessee a 10-point lead with 3:40 left.

Coach Kermit Davis' club will move on to face No. 4 seed Butler in the second round on Saturday (see full recap).

No. 3 Florida State defeats No. 11 FGCU, 86-80
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Dwayne Bacon scored 25 points and Jonathan Isaac added 17 points and 10 rebounds to help the third-seeded Florida State Seminoles hold off No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast 86-80 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament late Thursday night.

The Seminoles (26-8), making their first appearance since 2012 in the NCAAs, advanced on in the West Region.

The Eagles (26-8) saw their tournament hopes end in the first round for the second straight year. But FGCU made it interesting in the waning moments as the Seminoles let a sizeable lead slip away because of missed free throws and untimely fouls. Isaac and Xavier Rathan-Mayes made enough plays down the stretch to not allow the lead to slip completely away.

In a game that was defined by athletic play and exciting shots on both ends, it was Florida State that was able to deliver more often in a game that was close down the stretch. The Seminoles had the size and athleticism advantage, which made it difficult for the Eagles to get to the paint (see full recap).

Notre Dame hangs on to beat Princeton 60-58
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Bonzie Colson scored 18 points and Notre Dame survived a first-round NCAA Tournament scare by pulling out a 60-58 win over Princeton.

The West Region's 12th-seeded Tigers had a chance to pull ahead on their final possession, but Devin Cannady missed an open 3-pointer just before the final horn. Notre Dame's Steve Vasturia pulled down the rebound and was fouled.

The Fighting Irish (26-9) nearly squandered an 11-point second half lead. Guard Matt Farrell scored 16 points, but missed the front end of a one-and-one with Notre Dame up 59-58.

Spencer Weisz led the Tigers with 15 points. The Ivy League champion Tigers (23-7) had a 19-game winning streak going into the NCAA Tournament (see full recap).