After weeks of lead-up, the AdvoCare Invitational is finally here.

The first game is between the Canisius Golden Griffins and the defending National Champs, Villanova Wildcats. You can read the full preview and prediction of the game here.

As I do for all Canisius games, I will be giving you live reaction of the game as it happens in real-time.

How will the Griffs handle themselves against a team of Villanova’s predigree? They didn’t perform well against No.14 FSU earlier in the week.

Keep refreshing this page, as we update it throughout the game

1st Half

Villanova starts the game strong, pulling out to an early 5-0 lead on the back of a pair of offensive rebounds, keeping the Wildcats possessions alive.

Canisius isn’t backing down, playing solid defense, forcing turnovers—but the same problem that has plagued them in their two losses is rearing its ugly head again—-shooting.

Through four minutes of play, Canisius is 1-for-6 from the field and trailing Nova 7-3.

Unlike Canisius, Villanova is beginning to make their shots.

The Wildcats are shooting 50 percent from the floor, while Canisius is hitting 25 percent. Griffs trail 17-8 with 12 minutes to play in the first half.

Even worse, the Griffs are being dominated on the boards, losing that battle 11-5 early.

And the first three-pointer for Canisius belongs to Takal Molson. Good to see him get one to go early. Canisius still trails 17-11.

It may look ugly, but the Griffs are hanging with Villanova despite getting dominated on the boards, struggling to shoot and honestly getting some questionable calls by the refs.

Defensively, Canisius has forced six turnovers in 11 minutes.

Reggie Witherspoon needs to get to his bigs and make them do a better job of boxing out—Villanova has eight offensive rebounds in 12 minutes.

And just like that Villanova goes on an 8-0 run in a span of 1:19 and now leads by 13, 27-14.

More missed shots for Canisius, more offensive rebounds for Villanova.

The score will continue to inflate for the Wildcats if this keeps up. With 4:45 to play, Nova has doubled-up Canisius 32-16.

Canisius is getting man-handled in all aspects. Being courtside, I have the opportunity to listen to the communication between teammates. No one on Canisius is talking besides Malik Johnson—everyone on Villanova communicates.

After missing seven consecutive shots, Malik Johnson sinks a layup to end the drought—36-18 Nova.

And the rough first half is over. Canisius trails 38-26. If it weren’t for Malik Johnson, this game would be a 20+ point deficit.

Some key 1st half stats:

Villanova outrebounding Canisius 30-10. Nova has 13 offensive rebounds to Canisius’ 4.

Villanova FG%: 45 percent

Canisius FG%: 29 percent

Isaiah Reese: 0-for-5 from the field, 0-for-2 from three-point land. His shooting struggles continue.

Unless the Griffs start to shoot the ball better, they will have zero chance to come back into this game.

Rebounding is another avenue Reggie must attempt to fix during the half—not likely, I know.

2nd Half

The second half starts with an Eric Paschall three and more importantly, Canisius’ best player answered with a three of his own. Isaiah Reese makes his first shot of the game.

Reese quickly makes it back-to-back shots and Canisius trails 43-31.

Make that three in a row for Reese—-the first time he has done that this season. Reese has all eight Canisius points to start the second half.

Make that 11 points to start the second half—the Griffs have climbed back into this game on the back of Reese—46-37 Villanova’s lead is cut to single-digits.

After getting within single-digits, it is beginning to slip away again for the Griffs. Back-to-back turnovers and missed rebounding opportunities have led to Villanova extending their lead 55-39 with 14 minutes to play.

Halfway through the second period, Canisius is playing hard, but too many turnovers and a lack of rebounds is continuing to haunt them.

Villanova leads 61-44.

Canisius has been able to improve their shooting—somewhat—but it hasn’t been enough when you continue to give Villanova extra possessions.

Rebounding advantage with 7:27 left in the game—Villanova 42, Canisius 18. That will not win you any basketball game from pick-up to professional.

An underrated aspect of this second half—-Malik Johnson the leader of the first half success for Canisius has been on the bench for most of the second half with four fouls.

With five minutes to play it is good to see the Griffs playing hard, attempting to come back—but there may not be enough time left. Nova still leads by 13, 63-50.

With 3:40 to play, both teams are giving it their all. After a loose ball, things got heated between Reese and Villanova guard Joe Cremo. Benches were close to clearing before the coaching staffs held back their players. After review of the play, a technical foul was assessed to Isaiah Reese.

The Griffs got within 11, but a wide open three pushed the Wildcat lead back to 14….66-52, Nova.

And Villanova begins to pull away even more—another three gives the Wildcats a 70-52 lead with 2:30 to play.

As time wears on and the game nears its conclusion, Canisius will look back and wonder what-if…but Villanova came to play. They were not going to allow another Furman-type game.

Canisius did shoot better in the second half, but the lack of rebounding  really cost them.

Witherspoon has emptied his bench, giving a lot of the younger guys some playing ime against Villanova’s bench players.

Final score: Villanova 83 Canisius 56

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Dan Schalk

Dan Schalk is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for MFST and can be heard weekly on the 'My Fantasy Podcast'. He is likely watching Seinfeld right now, not that there's anything wrong with that.
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Latest posts by Dan Schalk (see all) SchalkBig EastMAACNCAABRecent PostsBig East,Canisius vs Villanova,College Basketball,MAAC,Villanova WildcatsAfter weeks of lead-up, the AdvoCare Invitational is finally here. The first game is between the Canisius Golden Griffins and the defending National Champs, Villanova Wildcats. You can read the full preview and prediction of the game here. As I do for all Canisius games, I will be giving you live...