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Villanova beat No. 14 Florida State for AdvoCare title

November 25, 2018

Villanova head coach Jay Wright reacts after a play during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Canisius Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — 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.

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UAB 68, Canisius 58

Zack Bryant had 26 points, seven steals and four assists as UAB rallied from an early 15-point deficit to beat Canisius 68-58 in the seventh-place game.

Jeremiah Bell scored 15 for UAB (4-2), which had previously lost to No. 14 Florida State and Charleston at the invitational.

“We showed a lot of heart and fight, and I think our team really grew up today,” UAB coach Robert Ehsan said. “As a young team facing adversity, to be down a third straight day and not quit shows a huge resilience.”

After Canisius got within two late, Bell hit a three and Bryant had a lay up during a 7-0 run that made it 65-56.

Takal Molson had 15 points and Scott Hitchon added 13 for Canisius (1-5).

Bryant had 14 first-half points as UAB used a 20-5 run to tie it at 31-31 with just under a minute to go in the first half.

Canisius led 35-31 at the break.

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