Syracuse rallied behind the home crowd and held off former Big East rival Villanova, 78-62 on Saturday. The Carrier Dome was rocking as the Orange overcame a slow start to preserve their unbeaten mark.
The opening minutes were a nightmare for the Orange, as five early three-pointers from Villanova had Syracuse down 25-7. But, that's when Trevor Cooney and C.J. Fair got going, combining for 14 points as part of a 20-0 run that gave the Orange their first lead. Jim Boeheim's team continued to pour it on, holding off the unbeaten Wildcats in the second half.
Cooney, Tyler Ennis and Fair continue to be among the most effective triple-threats in the country. Each scored at least 17 points, with Cooney's 21 leading the team. Fair finished with 17 points and six rebounds, and was the most successful penetrating Villanova's solid interior defense.
James Bell was the catalsyt for Villanova, scoring 25 points thanks to 6-of-12 shooting from three. Leading scorer JayVaughn Pinkston had just three points, well short of his 16.5 point per game average.
Syracuse will attempt to remain unbeaten against Eastern Michigan before starting ACC play against Miami Jan. 4.