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Syracuse Vs. Villanova: Kris Joseph Returns For Big East Contest At Sold Out Carrier Dome

Thirty-three thousand-plus fans are expected to pack the Carrier Dome Saturday afternoon as the No. 3 Syracuse Orange host Big East Conference rival No. 7 Villanova Wildcats (noon on ESPN). This is the second game in six days where the Orange (18-1, 5-1 Big East) have faced a Top-10 ranked squad -- Monday night, SU lost to the Pittsburgh Panthers (No. 5 in the AP poll and No. 4 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll), 74-66, and had its 18-game winning streak snapped. The Wildcats (16-2, 4-1) had their own 11-game wining streak ended Monday night, losing to No. 8 Connecticut Huskies, 61-59.

By all reports, SU's junior forward and leading scorer Kris Joseph will play Saturday after missing Monday's game because of a head injury, which he suffered a week ago against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Though the Orange put up a good fight against Pitt, Joseph's veteran presence was missed in Monday's loss, which featured SU giving up 19-unanswered points to begin the game. The Orange did rally and tied the contest earlier in the second half but didn't have enough to complete the comeback.

FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2010 - Kris Joseph 18 29.9 4.7 10.0 47.2 1.2 3.4 34.4 3.9 5.6 70.3 1.1 4.1 5.2 1.7 1.8 1.3 0.7 1.4 14.6

A surprise that came out of Monday's loss was the play of freshman guard/forward C.J. Fair, who came off the bench to play 36 minutes, net a collegiate-best 16 points and snag nine rebounds. Senior Rick Jackson had 10 points and a team-best 11 rebounds to earn his 12th double-double of the season.

FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2010 - Rick Jackson 19 34.1 5.7 9.8 58.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.7 3.5 48.5 3.5 8.2 11.7 2.7 1.8 1.3 2.3 1.9 13.1

The Wildcats are led by veteran guard play, a characteristic that has become a staple of head coach Jay Wright, who's in his 10th season at Villanova. This season, seniors Corey Fisher (16.1 ppg) and Corey Stokes (15.8) are 1-2 in scoring. The pair is also shooting well from three-point range. Stokes leads 'Nova in three-pointers made (53) and percentage (.438). While, Fisher is second in three-pointers made (25) and percentage (.321). Fisher is the distributor, averaging 4.8 assists-per game. Stokes averages just 1.6.

Leading the Wildcats inside is 6-foot-10 sophomore forward/center Mouphtaou Yarou and 6-8 senior forward Antonio Pena, who are each averaging over eight points and seven rebounds a game.

As a team, the Wildcats rank fifth in the conference in scoring at 76.6 ppg.