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

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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.

Villanova opens national title defense with win over Morgan State at refurbished Pavilion

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Villanova opens national title defense with win over Morgan State at refurbished Pavilion

Updated: 10:05 p.m.

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VILLANOVA, Pa. — Villanova started to head out for the second half toward its rehabilitated court when it somehow got lost in a maze of exits and sprinted out the wrong end.

"Everything's a first," coach Jay Wright said. "We're figuring it out."

The Wildcats will quickly get used to the intricacies of their digs.

They already seem quite at home, and as dominant as usual, at the new-look Pavilion.

Eric Paschall scored 26 points, Phil Booth had 17 and No. 9 Villanova opened its national championship defense with a 100-77 win over Morgan State on Tuesday night.

"I feel like we have great potential," Paschall said.

The Wildcats always do — they've won 12 straight games dating to last season and won their 16th consecutive season opener.

The new kid on the block that shone the most was the refurbished Pavilion, which closed for a season and forced the Wildcats to play a year in Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center. Villanova's on-campus court underwent a $65 million facelift that would have made the Property Brothers jealous.

The Wildcats couldn't put a price tag on their sweetest accessory — the 2018 national championship banner raised high above midcourt. Under Wright, Villanova has won two of the last three national championships, and seating for this season is at a premium. StubHub had lower level tickets selling for $375 shortly before tip, and a gym that for three decades had a skeleton crew of concession stands suddenly had deep-pocketed donors noshing on fried shrimp, $10 Wildcat burgers and taking a nip of top-shelf booze.

"Man, it was loud, it was jumping the whole time," Wright said. "I thought the crowd was great. There's a different vibe in here. It's definitely louder. It's pretty cool."

Bad news for the Big East, the Wildcats have more of a homecourt edge.

The Pavilion's courtside press row seating was stripped to make room for 88 courtside seats, there was club seating for the first time and the concourse also wrapped 360 degrees. The lights were dimmed for an NBA-worthy lineup introduction -- kind of a big deal considering in the old joint derisively known as the "ski lodge," it took 20 minutes for the entire building to light up once the switches were flipped.

On opening night, the Pavilion was lit.

Artificial noise was pumped in and fans were encouraged to stand until the Wildcats scored their first basket. It didn't take long. Collin Gillespie hit a 3 and the Wildcats hit from long range much like they did against Michigan in the title game in San Antonio, Texas.

They just didn't look like the same Wildcats.

AP Player of the Year Jalen Brunson plays for the Dallas Mavericks. Omari Spellman is with the Atlanta Hawks. Mikal Bridges landed in Phoenix after a draft-night trade with the 76ers, and Donte DiVincenzo — who scored 31 points in the title game win over Michigan — is with the Milwaukee Bucks. That's a ton of talent that walked out the door, but the Wildcats were eager to showcase the replacements. With the Wildcats up 15 in the first half, they had Booth, who has two national championships, and four freshmen on the court.

"We actually weren't trying the lineups. We were trying for fresh bodies," Wright said.

Saddiq Bey, one of those freshman, hit 3s on his first two shots and scored 16 points. Jahvon Quinerly buried a 3 for his only bucket.

Paschall made his first six baskets and scored 19 points in the first half. Paschall and Booth showed the veterans will lead the Wildcats early will the underclassmen find their way.

"We have to listen to the old guys like Eric and Phil," Bey said.

Big picture
Morgan State: Isaiah Burke led the Bears with 17 points. Morgan State took advantage of weak Villanova defense. The Bears started 12 of 24 from the floor and only trailed 54-43 at the break. They only trailed 64-57 with 12 minutes left in the second half before the Wildcats pull away. The Bears made only five 3s to 12 for Villanova.

Villanova: The rich get richer — on the court and, well, around it — and there's little reason to think the Wildcats won't again be in the national title picture.

Bear necessities 
Morgan State had more points in the paint (48-40), points off turnovers (22-10) and off the bench (45-36).

Up next
Morgan State stays in Pennsylvania with a game Friday at St. Francis.

Villanova has one more tune-up against Quinnipiac on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center before it has a national championship game rematch against Michigan.

No. 18 Penn State 33, Indiana 28: Nittany Lions put an end to 2-game skid

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No. 18 Penn State 33, Indiana 28: Nittany Lions put an end to 2-game skid

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Trace McSorley and No. 18 Penn State kept it simple to snap a two-game losing streak.

"We just took what was there," McSorley said.

McSorley passed for 220 yards, ran for 107 and had a hand in three touchdowns in Penn State's 33-28 victory over Indiana on Saturday.

Penn State (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) rallied after Indiana (4-4, 1-4) took a 21-20 lead in the third quarter on Steve Scott's 3-yard touchdown run.

Johnathan Thomas took the ensuing kickoff back to the Indiana 5, setting up McSorley for the go-ahead touchdown on the next play.

Brandon Wilson partially blocked the extra point, leaving Penn State's lead at 26-21. Indiana forced Penn State to punt on the Nittany Lions' next drive, but J-Shun Harris fumbled the punt return and turned the ball over. Five plays later, McSorley nearly walked into the end zone to make it 33-21 lead.

"Every time it seemed like we had the game in control and were able to put them away, they would battle back," Penn State coach James Franklin said. "We'll take this win, go back and watch the film, make corrections and get better."

The Hoosiers added a late touchdown Peyton Ramsey's 21-yard pass to Harris, and recovered an onside kick. Michael Penix and Ramsey split snaps for the Hoosiers, combining for 330 passing yards and a touchdown. Scott led Indiana in rushing with 138 yards and two touchdowns.

"Just a gut-wrenching loss for our team today. I thought our kids played their hearts out," Indiana coach Tom Allen said. "Proud of the effort. Just have to play better in certain situations and times, in critical moments."

Miles Sanders ran for 72 yards and a touchdown for Penn State.

The takeaway
Penn State: The Nittany Lions avoided stumbling at Indiana in what could easily be viewed as a trap game. Having lost two straight, Penn State simply couldn't afford to lose this one when considering the next three opponents on the Nittany Lions' schedule -- Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Indiana: The Hoosiers missed an opportunity to secure one of two more wins needed to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2016.

Up next
Penn State: Host Iowa next Saturday.

Indiana: At Minnesota next Saturday.