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Isaiah Reese's hot hand not enough for Canisius in loss to Villanova

Isaiah Reese had 19 points, including 17 in the second half before fouling out, and Takai Molson had 10 points, three rebounds and four assists for Canisius, but the Golden Griffins suffered their third straight loss with an 83-56 loss to Villanova in the first round of the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday.

Reese made four 3-pointers, including three in the first four minutes of the second half, when Canisius pulled to within 46-37. The Wildcats pushed their lead to 19 four minutes later and cruised. Reese, a first-team all-MAAC player last season, also had seven rebounds and three assists.

Junior guard Malik Johnson added eight points, four steals and two rebounds for the Griffins.

Sophomore forward Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree had career highs with 15 points and 13 rebounds for his first double-double, and Phil Booth had 15 points for Villanova.

Freshman Saddiq Bey had 11 points and eight rebounds, freshman Cole Swider had 11 points, including three 3-pointers off the bench, and seven different players made 3-pointers for the Wildcats (3-2).

Villanova, which lost its top four scorers from the 2018 NCAA title team, had lost two in a row to fall out of the AP Top 25 for the first since December 2013. It had been ranked for 75 consecutive weeks.

The Wildcats shot 48.3 percent from the field and had a whopping 51-24 rebounding edge, with 18 offensive rebounds leading to 21 second-chance points. They limited the Golden Griffs (1-3) to 32.7 percent from the field.

“We had some really good looks early on where we were able to penetrate and get to the basket, but we missed four or five point-blank layups, and that really set us back,” Canisius coach Reggie Witherspoon said in a news release. “That, and the fact that they just destroyed us on the glass.”

Cosby-Roundtree had six points and Booth and Bey hit 3-pointers when the Wildcats opened the game with a 17-8 flurry, a sign of things to come. Villanova went on an 11-0 run keyed by two Bey baskets and a 3-pointer from freshman reserve guard Jahvon Quinerly for a 30-14 edge.

The Wildcats stretched their lead to 20 points, but Canisius closed with a 6-0 run and Villanova led 38-26 at half. The Griffs had eight field goals, eight turnovers and 10 rebounds in the first half.

Reese got hot to start the second half, scoring 11 consecutive points for Canisius in the span of 2:36 to make the score 46-37 with 16:24 left to play. But the scoring run ended after the Wildcats took a 30-second timeout, and Villanova used an 8-2 run over the next 2:02 to push its lead to 55-39 with 13:58 remaining.

A pair of free throws by Molson with 4:23 left in the game cut Villanova’s lead to 63-52 before the Wildcats went on a 9-0 spurt to stretch the lead to 20 at 72-52. The run was fueled by a pair of 3-pointers by Swinder, who came into the contest with just one make from 3-point land this year.

“We need to play with more focus and be ready to compete for a full 40 minutes,” Witherspoon said. “We have not been able to sustain the high-level of intensity needed to win games so far this year. When you play good teams like this, and your full intensity level isn’t there, you see what happens.”

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