By Harry Allison
Villanova coach Jay Wright is a perfectionist.
His Wildcats won their six straight game of this young season, but Wright had something to worry about.
True, freshman Jalen Brunson (above) and Josh Hart each scored 13 points, and the eighth-ranked Wildcats beat Georgia Tech 69-52 on Friday in the NIT Season Tip-Off championship at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Villanova (6-0) shot 52.9 percent (27 for 51) from the field, but was 8 for 27 from 3-point range. It also was outrebounded 39-28 by the Yellow Jackets.
“We have to figure this out a little bit,” Wright said. “We’re not shooting well from 3. Teams are really getting out and taking away the 3-pointer from us, and they’re doing a good job.
“We have to figure out a way to get more open 3s, but we really have to be efficient from two if they’re going to do that.”
Kris Jenkins had 12 points for Villanova, and Ryan Arcidiacono added nine as Villanova improved to 6-0 this season.
Georgia Tech (4-2) has lost two of three. Charles Mitchell led the Yellow Jackets with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Georgia Tech grabbed its only lead at 7-6 on Marcus Georges-Hunt’s layup 3:36 into the game.
“There were a lot positives,” said Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory, who pointed at “the discipline and maturity” Mitchell displayed in losing 25 pounds in the offseason weight. “Unfortunately we have to have a lot more to beat a team like Villanova right now.”
Villanova led 30-23 at halftime, and the advantage ballooned to 19 points following Brunson’s two free throws with 6:42 left. The lead never fell below 13 after that.
Villanova fans at Barclays Center began to celebrate the championship after Jenkins and Hart hit back-to-back 3s from the right side a minute apart to give the Wildcats a 64-45 lead with 3:36 remaining.
“Villanova’s largest alumni faction is in the New York area,” Wright said. “I knew we would have crowd. We always have a great crowd (when) we play in New York.”
Brunson and Hart were named to the all-tournament team, along with Mitchell, Arkansas’ Anthlon Bell and Stanford’s Rosco Allen. Brunson was also named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.