Instant Replay: Villanova 75, No. 3 Syracuse 71 (OT)

Instant Replay: Villanova 75, No. 3 Syracuse 71 (OT)
January 26, 2013, 1:30 pm
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BOX SCORE

Four days after upsetting fifth-ranked Louisville, the Wildcats dispatched another top-5 team, stunning No. 3 Syracuse, 75-71, in an overtime thriller Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center.

Freshman Ryan Arcidiacono buried a game-tying three-pointer with 2.2 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime and James Bell scored eight points in the extra session to snap Syracuse’s eight-game winning streak and set off the second ’Nova court-storming this week.

It looked like Syracuse would be able to move 29-1 in its last 30 Big East games after going on a 9-1 run to take a six-point lead with four-and-a-half minutes left.

But Villanova was able to pull within three in the final seconds, and after Bell missed a potentially game-tying three-pointer, ’Nova got the rebound and Arcidiacono delivered.

The dramatics were set up after Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams missed the front end of a one-and-one with 15 seconds left to give the Wildcats life.

Just moments before that missed foul shot, Arcidiacono misfired on an open three-pointer from the wing that would have also tied the game.

With its massive two-game win streak, Villanova moves to 13-7 overall and 4-3 in the Big East. Syracuse drops to 18-2 overall and 6-1 in the league.

Villanova, which is now 4-1 against top-five teams at the Wells Fargo Center, was led by 25 points from Darrun Hilliard and 14 points and 16 rebounds from Mouphtaou Yarou.

Inside the box score
• Villanova shot just 18-for-30 from the free throw line (60 percent).

• Villanova committed 14 turnovers but outrebounded Syracuse, 46-30.

• Two players - Jerami Grant and Baye Keita – fouled out for Syracuse.

First half
Villanova dominated for most of the first half, jumping out to leads of 10-0 and 20-9 against a sleepwalking Syracuse that didn’t appear prepared for the early 11 a.m. start.

The Wildcats went five minutes between baskets later in the half, but still went into halftime with a 32-26 lead, thanks to 15 points from Hilliard.

Philadelphia native Rakeem Christmas paced Syracuse, which shot just 30 percent from the field, with seven first-half points.

Villanova shot 46.5 percent before the break.

Coaching milestone
With Saturday’s win, Villanova head coach Jay Wright has won 250 games during his 12-year tenure at Villanova.

Wright is now 10-11 against teams in the AP Top 5.

The series
Syracuse leads the overall series against Villanova, 38-32, and had won the last three matchups, including a Jan. 12 victory at the Carrier Dome.

’Nova women honored
At halftime of Saturday’s game, the 2002-03 Villanova women’s team came out on the court at the Wells Fargo Center after a 10-year anniversary video tribute was shown on the jumbotron.

That Wildcats team shocked No. 1 UConn in the Big East championship game, before advancing to the Elite Eight.

One of the stars of that squad, Trish Juhline, was inducted into the Big 5 Hall of Fame on Friday.

What’s next?
Villanova closes the month of January with a nationally televised road game at Notre Dame on Wednesday.

Syracuse is off until next Saturday when it travels to Pittsburgh.