Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Guards Lead Syracuse Orange Past Villanova Wildcats

Syracuse used a 23-2 first half run to erase an early 18-point deficit to defeat previously unbeaten Villanova 78-62.  Trevor Cooney led the Orange with 21 points while Tyler Ennis added 20.  C.J Fair chipped in 17.

Villanova started off with hot shooting hitting their first four three-point shots.  That allowed Nova to race out to a 25-7 lead.  The Wildcats shot 22% from 3-point range after the fast start.

There actually was only one lead change in this game.  Once Syracuse rallied, they never trailed again.  The Orange outscored the Wildcats 27-10 in the paint and made 29 of 35 from the free throw line.


PLEASE ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF – If the national basketball audience didn’t know about Tyler Ennis, they know now.   The freshman guard dictated the pace and controlled the court.   Besides the 20 points, he had zero turnovers against the 2nd best defense in the country.  He played like a four-year starter.  When MCW left after last season, many wondered if Ennis would be up to the task.  He has all the qualities of a legitimate top-tier point guard.

NO MAS RUNS – No doubt the fast, early start by Villanova had some of the Orange faithful nervous.  But Syracuse answered with an 18-0 run of their own.  After that, there weren’t any significant runs by either team which was good for the Orange once they had a lead.  They never really let Nova back in the game.

LEGIT?  – There was no doubt that this was Syracuse’s biggest challenge of the season to date, but there were still some questions whether they could compete for a championship.  CBS commentator Bill Raftery thinks so.  There will be some rough days ahead in the ACC, especially on the road.   But with the emergence of Ennis and the dominance of the 2-3 zone, the Cuse is in good shape.

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