PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Jalen Brunson scored 26 points and Josh Hart had 21 to help No. 1 Villanova hold off La Salle 89-79 on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats (9-0) failed to dominate in their first game of the season as the top-ranked team in the country. The national champions led La Salle (4-3) by only single digits late in the game and played little like the team that had steamrolled to the top.
Coach Jay Wright had worried that Villanova’s ascension to No. 1 would give the Explorers a little more incentive to go out and knock off the champs. La Salle almost came through at the famed Palestra.
Johnnie Shuler and Pookie Powell made late 3-pointers that pulled the Explorers to 77-70. La Salle, which has never defeated a No. 1 team, got more late help from long range when Jordan
Price popped a 3 that made it a four-point game. Powell scored 27 points.
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