Wildcats Scratch, Orange Win

The Orange men's basketball team had a true test with the Wildcats, but stayed strong to emerge victorious in the end. More inside.

The Syracuse Orange men's basketball team entered into their home of the Carrier Dome with an 11-0 record on their home-court.

Even more impressive, the Orange had not lost in 33-straight games inside their familiar walls.

The Wildcats of Villanova would be anything but allow the 12th-straight home win to come easy for the Orange.

Throughout the first half, the advantage switched between the two teams. Overall, the lead changed hands on nine separate occasions.

There were eight ties in the match in total, as well, the majority of them coming in the first half.

Freshman forward Jerami Grant had the best performance of the first half for the Orange, with an immediate impact of scoring within the first 40 seconds he was in the game.

Grant went 3-for-4 from the field in the opening half, leading Syracuse in scoring heading into the break with seven points.

The rest of the Orange frontcourt combined for nine total points in the first half.

Syracuse's backcourt scored the other 11 points, but the team still resided behind Villanova at the break, 29-27.

The Orange would stay below the Wildcats until 17:14 remaining in the match, when junior forward C.J. Fair connected on his jumpshot to give Syracuse a 36-34 lead.

From 19:01 to 13:46 remaining in the game, outside of senior guard Brandon Triche's two made free throws, Fair took over. He connected on a layup, three-point attempt, and back-to-back jumpers in the field while also making two free throws.

Syracuse would never lose the lead again, despite consistent effort by Villanova to keep the game close.

The Orange expanded to as much as a 14-point lead on two separate occasions.

Syracuse stayed ahead by double-figures to win the match over Villanova by 11, 72-61.

Fair led all Orange with 22 points, and was the team's best shooter, making seven of 12.

This marked the fifth time this season that Fair has been Syracuse's leading scorer, and second game in a row, after scoring 23 versus the Providence Friars in the team's previous match.

After no Orange player attained double-figures in the first half, four in total ended with 10 or more points for the game. Freshman forward Jerami Grant followed with 13, with guards Triche and sophomore Michael Carter-Williams each gaining 10.

Grant rose his single-game career high two points in this match to 13. His previous high of 11 came against the Eastern Michigan Eagles back on December 3rd of last year.

Also a presence on the glass, Grant grabbed five rebounds to lead the Orange, tied with fellow forwards Fair and sophomore forward Rakeem Christmas.

Carter-Williams, to no surprise, topped all Syracuse players in assists, this time with seven. He has attained the most assists among all Orange in all of the team's 17 matches.

Overall, the Orange overcame a poor performance from the field in the first half, where they made 14.3% of their attempts from deep (1-for-7) and 30.3% in total (10-for-33). In the second half, they raised their 30.3% first half outing to 54.5% (12-for-22), making two more attempts from deep than they did in the first half (3-for-7), to raise themselves from 14.3% to 42.9%.

Cuse Nation Top Stories