Suffocating defense would allow the Wildcats to go up big in the first 10 minutes of play, as they led 25-10, but Syracuse was just waking up. The Orange would turn the tables, as they bared down on defense and began making just about every shot, utilizing a 20-0 run to take a 27-25 lead with 4:30 remaining in the half.
After going 4-4 from beyond the arc to start the game, Villanova made just 2 of their final 12 attempts from 3-point range in the first half.
While Villanova was cooling off, Syracuse was just heating up, as C.J. Fair and Trevor Cooney each tallied 11 points in the half to lead the Syracuse charge, while Tyler Ennis, younger brother of Villanova’s Dylan Ennis, had 9.
James Bell would open the scoring in the second half with a 3-pointer, but Syracuse would respond with a 9-0 run to stretch their lead to 47-37.
With Villanova struggling to get stops defensively, the Orange took complete control of the game. The Wildcats would close to within 56-53 with 7:02 remaining, but a Cooney 3 put Syracuse back up 59-53 and the Orange wouldn’t look back, winning by a final score of 78-62.
Four players finished in double figures for the Orange, including three starters. Guards Trevor Cooney and Tyler Ennis led the way for Syracuse, finishing with 21 and 20 points respectively, while C.J. Fair scored 17.
James Bell led all scorers in the game with 25 points, including six 3s but with the rest of the lineup struggling, the Wildcats failed to get back in the game. Villanova was able to beat Syracuse’s zone defense in the opening minutes with the help of efficient shooting from deep, but the Orange held pat, and with the Wildcats unable to maintain their pace, took control.
The loss is the first of the season for the Wildcats, who now sit at 11-1. Villanova will return to action Tuesday, as they visit Butler.
By: Kyle Babcock
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