Despite a lackluster finish, the Villanova Wildcats managed to take home the 2015 Preseason NIT Tip-Off title in a 69-52 victory over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
The 'Cats were led by guards Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson, who posted 13 points apiece. Hart also led the Cats with seven boards on Friday afternoon in Brooklyn.
'Nova stayed true to script, losing the rebound battle but winning on the points battle based on turnovers. Jalen Brunson led the Wildcats with nine points through the first half and the 'Cats eked to a seven point lead at the half.
A hot start for the Yellow Jackets tied the game at 30 before Brunson stepped up with a bucket and put 'Nova up by two going into the first TV timeout of the second half. Villanova began making a move here and there over the next four miminutes to stretch the lead to nine at the second TV timeout.
The 'Cats came out aggressive from there showing why their backcourt is one of the most talented in the nation. At the 10 minute mark, Phil Booth, Ryan Arcidiacono and Jalen Brunson accounted for 27 of Nova's 48 points.
Not to be outdone, Josh Hart stepped up with a couple big baskets to extend the Villanova lead to 19 with 3:20 to play. The 'Cats confirmed their the ability to close out a game and survive, a trait that should play dividends in March.
For the Yellow Jackets, Charles Mitchell was the undisputed leader with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Next up for Villanova is a matchup with the St. Joe's Hawks in the Holy War on Tuesday, December 1.