In the first meeting between the Villanova Wildcats and Syracuse Orange since Syracuse left the Big East conference for the ACC, today’s afternoon tilt in the Carrier Dome resembled the atmosphere of their classic Big East games until the final minutes. The 78-62 final score was not indicative of how close this game was for the first 37 minutes of the game
Syracuse took a 38-34 halftime lead and were in front of Villanova for much of the afternoon but to the credit of Jay Wright’s club, the Wildcats would not go away easily. Syracuse ultimately pulled away in the final 2:30 when their size and length proved to be too much for Villanova to handle.
Syracuse built their lead to nine and effectively put the game on ice as Villanova was out of timeouts, in foul trouble and poor shot selection resulted in quick and empty possessions.
Syracuse’s freshman sensation point guard Tyler Ennis didn’t shoot the ball particularly well on 6-14 shooting, but still managed 19 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Orange senior forward and ACC preseason player of the year, C.J. Fair and sophomore guard Trevor Cooney gave the Orange offensive attack balance all afternoon long and the two combined to score 38 points. Cooney did the bulk of his damage from behind the arc with all five of his made field goals being three-pointers.
Villanova was led by 6-6 senior guard James Bell who poured in 25 points, but was the only Villanova player to score more than 10 points on the day and just didn’t have enough help to knock off the No. 2 team in the country.
Villanova was trying to defeat the No. 2 team in the country for the second time this season. They beat the Kansas Jayhawks 63-59 on Nov. 29.
Syracuse improves to 12-0 and solidifies their ranking in the top 25 while Villanova falls to 11-1.