Villanova looked like a team that needed a break after playing its sixth basketball game in 13 days, and coach Jay Wright is pleased to have one.
The second-ranked Wildcats improved to 6-0 Wednesday night with a 63-47 victory over the College of Charleston at the Pavilion, but they looked a bit fatigued in the second half, when they shot 36 percent from the field and went more than nine minutes without a field goal.
Even though they still played defense, limiting the Cougars (3-3) to 35 percent in the game, their coach called the performance at that end "average."
The Cats get a five-day break before returning to the court on Tuesday night at the Palestra for their Big Five opener against Penn. Wright gave his players two days off, and sounded glad to get some practice time after the busy start to the season, one that saw them play three games in four days last weekend in winning the Charleston Classic.
"We could use a couple of days off, and I think we can use a few days of practice after that," he said. "We really haven't had good practices where we could really work on things because we've had games right away, and we've been traveling so much."
Another benefit of the rest is the possibility that starting guard Phil Booth could return Tuesday night. Booth missed his third straight game with inflammation in his left knee. Asked about when Booth would return, Wright said, "Maybe next game; if not, the game after that."
One of the concerns for Wright after six games is his team's mental preparation. He said installing a lot of his offensive and defensive plans early helped given the lack of practice time, but he wasn't sure the team was prepared mentally for each contest.
"Maybe in this one we didn't come with great energy," Wright said. "We've got to learn that, how to bring it every night. That's just something this team is going to have to learn."
He said that with Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu leading the way last year, there was "the mental, mature approach to every game, like a seasoned 15-year veteran. They came to work every day.
"We're getting better at it. Josh [Hart] is really getting good at that, but our team has got to get that. Those two demanded it of everybody. Now we have some new guys . . . [and] we've got to get everybody there."
Hart, who averaged 32.6 minutes over the six-game stretch and had 13 points and 11 rebounds Wednesday night, acknowledged that his team "still has a lot to learn."
"This game was definitely a tough one, but one we can definitely learn from down the road," he said. "So we're going to get away for a couple of days, come back, watch film on this, learn, and move on to the next one."