EditorsNote: updates second graf with next opponents
Cole Swider sank six 3-pointers on his way to a career-high 26 points as No. 17 Villanova routed Middle Tennessee State 98-69 in the quarterfinals of the Myrtle Beach Invitational on Thursday in Conway, S.C.
The Wildcats (3-1) will face either Mississippi State in the semifinals on Friday. The Bulldogs beat Tulane 80-66 later Thursday. Middle Tennessee will take on the Green Wave on Friday.
Collin Gillespie added 16 and Justin Moore had 15 for Villanova.
Donovan Sims paced Middle Tennessee State with 18 points while C.J. Jones added 16 and Tyson Jackson had 12.
The Blue Raiders dropped to 3-2 after winning their first three games of the season.
Villanova jumped out to a commanding 24-4 lead slightly more than seven minutes into the first half.
Gillespie’s fourth 3-pointer pushed the Wildcats’ advantage to 35-19 with 4:56 left.
Villanova’s zone defense appeared to bother Middle Tennessee State as it missed eight of its first nine shots from beyond the 3-point arc.
Swider’s trey from the wing pushed the Wildcats’ lead to 45-23 with 2:13 remaining.
Swider hit 8 of 9 shots, including all five 3-pointers, for a career-best 21 points in the first half.
The Blue Raiders were led by Sims’ nine points, but 2-of-10 shooting from 3-point territory and a 2-of-7 effort from the free throw line were big reasons they trailed 53-28 at halftime.
The Wildcats’ lead reached 60-30 just two minutes into the second half when Saddiq Bey connected on a trey from the corner.
Middle Tennessee State turned the ball over on two of its next three possessions and the Wildcats took a 64-32 advantage into the first television timeout with 15:12 left.
Jones finally got untracked and made a couple jumpers, but the Blue Raiders still trailed 75-46 with about 10 minutes remaining.
Another 3-pointer from the corner by Bey pushed the Wildcats’ advantage to 78-48 with 9:13 left. On their next possession prized recruit Bryan Antoine scored his first collegiate basket on a dunk. A McDonald’s All-American, Antoine had just recently been cleared after offseason surgery on his right shoulder.
—Field Level Media