Villanova 103, Canisius 79
VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) _ Kerry Kittles had a career-high 34 points, and Villanova its biggest output of the season while overpowering Canisius in the second half of a 103-79 victory Thursday night in the first round of the NIT.
Villanova will play Duquesne - a winner Wednesday over North Carolina Charlotte - in the second round. The Wildcats’ best previous output came in a 94-62 victory over American University.
Kittles scored 16 points during a 17-6 Villanova spurt in the second half, making it 66-46 with just over 12 minutes left. During the surge, Kittles had two steals and connected on an acrobatic reverse layup after driving past Canisius’ Binky Johnson.
Villanova (16-12) opened up an 82-60 lead on an Jonathan Haynes’ 3-pointer with 6:40 left in the half. Hanyes had 15 points and 10 assists for the Wildcats.
Micheal Meeks led the Golden Griffins (22-7) with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
After going 1-for-5 in the first half, Villanova’s Eric Eberz hit three straight 3-pointers in the opening two minutes of the second to give the Wildcats a 47-38 lead. Eberz finished with 13 points.
Both teams had difficulty controlling the ball in the first half.
Canisius turned the ball over nine times and Villanova eight in the first half.
Villanova used a 10-2 first-half spurt to build a 20-12 lead. Kittles scored all but two of those points. But Canisius rebounded with a 16-4 spurt to make it 28-22 with 5:44 to play in the half. The Wildcats used a 9-4 surge to take a 38-34 halftime lead.
It was the Golden Griffins’ fourth trip to the NIT, the Wildcats’ 12th.