Syracuse and Villanova tipped off at 11AM down in Philadelphia this morning and Syracuse looked as though they were still asleep to start the game. In fact, they didn’t even score until a C.J. Fair jumper at the 16:33 mark after falling behind a suddenly dangerous Wildcats team 10-0. The jumper kicked off a short 7-0 run that cut it to 10-7 but ‘Nova’s Darrun Hilliard hit a ‘3’ (his 2nd of the game already) to end the charge by the Orange and the ‘Cats were 3-5 from three point land and the long distance assault never let up.
Syracuse fought to within six at the half and tied it up soon after the start of the second but the game was a battle of wills the rest of the way. They played to a tie and Villanova outscored Syracuse 14-10 to win their second straight game over a top-5 team in-conference.
Foul trouble plagued the Orange and rising frosh Jerami Grant along with Baye Moussa Keita fouled out. Rakeem Christmas was saddled with 4 and the Orange went small with Cooney manning the top of the zone and Brandon Triche sliding down to the small forward spot on defense. This is the game that Syracuse truly missed James Southerland and as I stated in this article, it would come to haunt them eventually. Today was the day. It was also a game that we saw true freshman center Dajaun Coleman has a lot of seasoning to go before he is ready to challenge the middle yet. It is probably safe to assume that in a year he will be a force, just not yet. The fouls and small bodied line-up saw the Orange out rebounded 46-30 in the game. Add in nine ‘3’s for ‘Nova and the upset was there for the taking.
Syracuse has a week to recover and lick their wounds before taking to the road and playing the always tough Pittsburgh Panthers. In the meantime, Villanova will continue to try and keep rising with a road tilt at current #24 Notre Dame on Jan. 30th.