The Syracuse Orange had little trouble getting around the Villanova Wildcats on Wednesday night to keep their perfect record and top overall ranking in tact. Syracuse led 43-24 at the half and scored 36 more points in the second half for the 79-66 win over their Big East rivals.
Despite their record, the Wildcats came into this game averaging more than 72 points per game and out rebounding opponents by an average of 5.8 per game. They struggled shooting the ball in this game, shooting just 32.3 percent from the field. Mouphtaou Yarou led the 'Cats with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Maalik Wayns, the team's leading scorer who started the game averaging 17.4 points per game was 0-7 from the field and scored just three points, all on free throws.
Sophomore guard Dion Waiters led the Orange with 20 points off the bench. He also had four rebounds, two assists and four steals. Guard James Southerland had 13 points, the only other Syracuse player in double digits for the game.
The win keeps Syracuse undefeated with an 18-0 record and a 5-0 record in the Big East this season. They host the Providence Friars on Saturday. The Wildcats fall below .500 again, one week after beating DePaul. They are now 8-9 with a 1-4 record in the Big East. They have a tough matchup on the road this Saturday, facing the 13-4 Cincinnati Bearcats who are coming off an upset over Georgetown.
The Villanova Wildcats trail the No. 1 Syracuse Orange 43-24 after the first half of play at the Wells Fargo Center.
This game opened with a fairly even first ten minutes for Villanova and Syracuse. Through the first 10 minutes the score was even tied, 14-14. Then, Syracuse went on a 18-2 run over the next six minutes to open the score up. Villanova was outrebounded in the first half and turned the ball over nine times.
However, the major problem for Villanova was shot selection. The Wildcats shot only 2-9 from behind the arc and 7-26 from the field in the first half. Villanova entered the game as the Big East's best free throw shooting team but were only 8-13 in the first half.
Villanova was led in the first half by Mouphtaou Yarou's eight points and seven rebounds. Tyrone Johnson had six points (2-2 from behind the arc) for the Wildcats. The Orange were led by 14 points from Dion Waiters.
The Villanova Wildcats host the No. 1 team in the nation, Syracuse Orange, Wednesday night at The Pavilion (7 p.m. on ESPN2). The Wildcats have earned five victories in their last seven games against the Orange.