Top 25: No. 7 Syracuse 72, Villanova 61
Syracuse, N.Y. • C.J. Fair had 22 points, Trevor Cooney hit a pair of 3-pointers to punctuate a late surge and No. 7 Syracuse beat Villanova 72-61 on Saturday.
Syracuse (16-1, 4-0 Big East) has won 34 straight home games, the longest active streak in the nation in Division I. Villanova (11-5, 2-1) had its seven-game winning streak snapped.
Fresh from two straight wins on the road, the Orange played without James Southerland. The senior, the Orange's second-leading scorer at 13.6 points per game in his key role off the bench, is out until further notice because of an eligibility matter, the university said in a statement released just before the game. He sat on the bench in street clothes.
Jerami Grant had a career-high 13, and Dajuan Coleman had six points as Syracuse's freshmen had important contributions after hardly playing at Providence on Wednesday night. Michael Carter-Williams finished with 10 points and seven assists, and Brandon Triche had 10 points.
JayVaughn Pinkston led Villanova with 12 points and Mouphtaou Yarou had 11 points and 14 rebounds. Ryan Arcidiacono had seven points but missed six of seven shots from behind the arc. Villanova shot 5 of 23 from long range.
Syracuse trailed for much of the first half. After Triche was called for his fourth foul with 16 minutes, 26 seconds left in the second half, the Orange were without their top two scorers when he sat down on the bench not far from Southerland.
Fair, who entered the game with three double-doubles in the previous four games, became the go-to guy for Syracuse, scoring 11 of the Orange's first 15 points of the period. He broke a 34-34 tie with a midrange jumper just before Triche's fourth foul, then converted a floater in the lane and sank two free throws to give Syracuse a 40-34 lead at 13:46.
After Arcidiacono scored from the wing, Carter-Williams passed to Coleman for a basket off the glass after a pretty fake underneath to keep the Syracuse lead at six.
The crowd of 27,586, the largest of the season in the Carrier Dome, then got loud as Syracuse went on a 15-4 run to gain a 14-point cushion.
Coleman started the surge with a two-handed slam dunk, and Cooney finished it with two 3-pointers in a 44-second span, giving Syracuse a 61-47 lead with 5:48 left.