TOUGHER THAN IT LOOKED: NO. 2 NOVA BEATS CHARLESTON 63-47

By Steve Kelly

Josh Hart (above) had 13 points and 11 rebounds, Kris Jenkins scored 11 points and No. 2 Villanova knocked off College of Charleston 63-47 last night at the Pavilion.

The Wildcats improved to 6-0 a season after winning the national championship but struggled to put away the overmatched Cougars in their fourth game in seven days and their sixth in 13.

“It was not a pretty game,” Wright said. “We just found a way to gut it out.”

Mikal Bridges and Eric Paschall added eight points and five rebounds apiece for the Wildcats, who shot just 5 for 17 from 3-point range and 8 for 22 from the field in the second half.

Jarrell Brantley led Charleston with 18 points and seven rebounds. The Cougars shot 4 for 22 from 3-point range and committed 14 turnovers.

“It’s a good way to learn,” Brantley said. “They’re a really good team and do a lot of things right. It will only help.”

Jenkins, who famously hit the title-winning shot to beat North Carolina at the buzzer last April, was held out of the starting lineup by Wright because he missed a class. But the senior forward came in just 3 minutes into the game and played 28 minutes, shooting 4 for 7 from the field.

Hart, who won MVP of the 2016 Gildan Charleston Classic after leading the Wildcats to the tournament title on Sunday, also shot 4 for 7 from the field and 2 for 3 from 3-point range.

He was called back into the game in the final minutes after Wright admitted to putting his walk-ons in too early — not that it bothered the team’s star senior.

“I’m not really worried about minutes,” said Hart, a Wooden Award candidate. “I’d love to play the whole game if the coach lets me.”

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