Saturday, January 22, 2011

Maalik Wayns, Villanova Heat Up Early, Holds Off Syracuse

Villanova couldn't miss a 3-pointer early or a free throw late.

When it mattered, everything just seemed to go in for the Wildcats.

Villanova hit 8-of-11 3-pointers in the first half and connected on its final 14 straight free throws to stave off a late Syracuse run and drop the Orange 83-72.

Maalik Wayns scored 17 in the first half for Villanova, who used an 11-3 burst midway through the period to take a 24-14 lead and an 11-point halftime advantage.

But Syracuse didn't go go away before the second-largest crowd to see a regular-season college basketball game, a record that fell short only of last year's Syracuse-Villanova game.

The Orange reeled off a late 11-2 run to cut the margin to 69-65 with 2:37 to play, but would get no closer.

Corey Stokes and Corey Fisher each added 16 for Villanova, which marked a turnaround from Monday's loss to UConn. Five days earlier, Fisher and Waayns hit just 4-of-16 shots and the Wildcats connected on just 3-of-14 from long range.

Kris Joseph led the Orange with 23 points in his first game back since banging his head on the floor last Saturday. Syracuse has now lost two straight, following Monday's loss to Pitt, after winning 18 straight to start the season.

How It Was Won: Early 3-point shooting and an excellent gameplan from Villanova coach Jay Wright. The Wildcats didn't simply stand around the perimeter waiting for shots, rather the team's guards were active, particularly in getting the ball back across the top of the Syracuse zone for open looks from the weak side. The long range barrage (8-of-11 in the first half) gave Villanova a working edge and kept Syracuse's fast break in neutral. In the second half, Syracuse did a better job of closing out on shooters, so the Wildcats simply drove by them.

How It Was Lost: Syracuse didn't get enough production out of its guards offensively to keep up with Villanova. Scoop Jardine hit just 1-8; Dion Waiters was 2-of-12. The Orange did win the offensive rebounding battle 16-8, but weren't dominate enough on the offensive glass to offset 15 turnovers and little production from the perimeter.

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