Sophomore guard Maalik Wayns scored 17 of his team-best 21 points in the first half Saturday to help the No. 7-ranked Villanova Wildcats beat the No. 3 Syracuse Orange, 83-72, in a Big East Conference game at the Carrier Dome. The Orange (18-2, 5-2) are now on a two-game losing streak and currently fourth in the Big East standings. The Wildcats (17-2, 5-1) move into second place.
Syracuse, which trailed 40-29 at halftime, slowly chipped away at 'Nova's advantage. SU got within four points, 69-65, with 2:40 remaining after junior forward Kris Joseph slammed home a dunk. However, the Orange couldn't complete the comeback because of outstanding free-throw shooting by the Wildcats (22-for-24 overall and 12-for-12 in the game's final two-and-a-half minutes). Wayns finished 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. Senior guard Corey Fisher, who finished with 16 points, went 5-for-5 from the foul line. Senior guard Corey Stokes netted 16 points, which included four 3-pointers.
Joseph, who scored 14 of his team-best 21 points, tried his best to rally the Orange in the second half but he didn't receive any support. Senior point guard Scoop Jardine had his worst game of the season, shooting 1-for-8 from the field with two turnovers and just three assists. The Syracuse bench combined to shoot 5-for-17 (29 percent). Senior forward Rick Jackson had a strong effort with 16 points and 15 rebounds to earn his 13th double-double of the season. Sophomore guard Brandon Triche finished with 14 points.
The Wildcats made eight of their 11 three-point shots in the first half and led by as much as 14 points. However, the hot shooting cooled in the second half, and SU, which committed 15 turnovers, mounted a comeback that just fell short.