‘Cats pull out win against Western Michigan

Meaghan Bedigian

Daniel Ochefu was sorely missed today at game one of the Gildan Charleston Classic. The ‘Cats pulled out a 76-65 win against Western Michigan, but the defensive giant could have helped alleviate the problems Villanova has and will face this season regarding size, especially with the loss of Spellman.

“We just kind of gutted it out—it wasn’t pretty,” Coach Jay Wright said after his third-ranked Wildcats improved to 3-0. “Daniel and Arch were our two leaders defensively. They were the kind of guys, they knew they could score anytime they wanted, but they didn’t care about that. They wanted to keep us united defensively.”

Luckily, Wildcat offense came through, outscoring the Broncos in the first half 44-33. Eric Paschall led Villanova with 17 points, while Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson both added 14 points.

“It wasn’t just Daniel’s size and athleticism, it was his communication,” Wright said. “We’re disjointed. We don’t communicate yet. We have different guys. It’s going to take us some time.”

Both of the last two opponents had 7-foot centers, something Brunson knows they can make up for with ability.

“We’re just going to have to lock in defensively,” he said. “We have the ability to be a great defensive team.”

Villanova will face 3-0 Wake Forest, who gave UTEP and 103-81 beat-down, scoring 63 first-half points and making 13 of 20 three-pointers. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.