‘Nova Knocks Off FSU for AdvoCare Title


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

‘Nova knocks off FSU for AdvoCare Title

Addison Drone

On Sunday, the Villanova Wildcats captured the AdvoCare Invitational Championship against 14th ranked Florida State Seminoles. In the tightly contested matchup, the Wildcats prevailed by a score of 66-60. With the victory, the Wildcats have now won their sixth consecutive November tournament, a testament to the sustained success of Jay Wright’s program. Villanova’s Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree was named the tournament MVP, putting up an additional 11 points and 8 rebounds in the final to accompany a great week of play in Orlando. 

Coming off victories against Canisius and Oklahoma State in the first two rounds of the tournament, the Wildcats were led Sunday by sophomore Collin Gillespie, who finished with 17 points and converted 7 of his 11 shots. Gillespie added in two assists and got the team rolling, particularly coming out of the half, as he hit three consecutive shots. 

Villanova started strong out of the gate, leading 10-2 before a Florida State timeout. However, the Seminoles battled back quickly, dominating the boards and taking advantage of critical Villanova turnovers. In the first half, FSU pulled in eight offensive rebounds and forced eight turnovers. Even though they were shooting at a much lower clip than Villanova, they put up more shots and had solid contributions from their bench. At the break, Florida State’s reserves had 15 of their 25 points with David Nichols and Mfiondu Kabengele having six and five respectively. 

As Florida State chipped away at Villanova’s lead, their high-intensity man to man defense worked well to slow Villanova’s offense. Taking a similar approach to Michigan a week and a half ago, FSU fought hard to keep the Wildcat’s shooters at bay. In the first half, Villanova only attempted six three-point shots as compared with their season average of 33 per contest. 

In the second half, neither team was able to pull away. As Gillespie was leading the Wildcat offense, the Seminoles responded by hitting consecutive threes to take a 33-32 lead. A few minutes later, Villanova had an injury scare as Gillespie seemed to have rolled his ankle, but he returned shortly after, picking up where he left off. 

A turning point in this contest was with 6:07 remaining when Villanova’s Eric Paschall and FSU’s Terance Mann both went up for a rebound, leading to a whistle. Originally only a foul on the Villanova big man, the officials went to the monitor and assessed a flagrant to Mann. Paschall connected on the free throw and then followed with an emphatic dunk the ensuing possession to give Villanova a six-point lead, 52-46. Paschall finished with 15 points in 37 minutes of action. After a Florida State run, Villanova freshman Saddiq Bey, who put up 7 points, banked in a floater with a minute remaining and the Wildcats never relinquished the lead. 

Florida State’s guard combination of Mann and Trent Forrest put up nine and 11 respectively in the loss while Kabengele also had 11 points and 7 rebounds coming off the bench. 

The Wildcats will be back in action Dec. 1 to face La Salle as the team looks to improve to 6-2.