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Villanova Pulls Away in Second Half to Knock Off Syracuse

The Orange battled the sixth ranked Wildcats throughout, but did not shoot well enough to earn a victory.

Villanova pulled away in the final 10 minutes and Syracuse was dominated on the offensive boards throughout as the Wildcats knocked off the Orange 67-53 in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night. With the loss, Syracuse fell to 5-4 on the season while #6 Villanova improved to 7-2. 

Syracuse did not shoot well in this game, making just 36% of its shots overall. The Orange defense responded by holding Villanova to 33% shooting and just 13-50 from beyond the arc. Villanova came into the game shooting over 41% as a team from three point range. 

Where the Wildcats won this game was on the offensive boards. Villanova had 27 offensive rebounds on its way to a 57-36 advantage on the glass and a 25-7 edge in second chance points. 

Jimmy Boeheim led all scorers with 21 points on 10-19 shooting. Cole Swider, against his former team, had just five points to go along with 12 rebounds. Swider hit his first shot of the game, a three pointer, but was just 1-6 from the field afterwards. Joe Girard added 11 points, four rebounds and three assists. Buddy Boeheim struggled to shoot the ball, finishing 3-15 from the floor including 0-5 from beyond the arc. Jesse Edwards added 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. 

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Villanova was led by Justin Moore and Collin Gillespie. The two combined for 32 points, seven assists and nine rebounds with eight made three pointers. 

The game started out with both teams shooting the ball well. Just six minutes into the game, the score was tied at 14. Over the next 14 minutes, however, Syracuse outscored Villanova 15-12 as both teams cooled off. While the Wildcats struggled to make shots from the outside (made just 5-28 from beyond the arc, or 18%), they gave themselves more opportunities by dominating the offensive glass. 

Villanova responded to a first half deficit as one would expect, with a quick 9-2 run to take a four point lead. The Orange, however, responded by exploiting a mismatch with Jimmy Boeheim. The game stayed tight throughout the first 10 minutes of the second half. Then the Wildcats started making shots and threatened to blow it open, pushing their to as much as eight with 7:57 to play. 

Syracuse kept it close for a few more minutes, until a couple of Syracuse turnovers led to easy Villanova buckets as the lead was extended to 10 at the under four media timeout. The Orange was unable to get back into it from that point. 

Next up for Syracuse is another game away from the Dome on Saturday as the Orange plays at Georgetown. That game tips at noon Eastern and will be broadcast on Fox.