'Nova tops Syracuse in OT for second straight upset
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Villanova might want to schedule all of its games at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Wildcats welcomed their second top-five opponent of the week to their home away from home in south Philadelphia and won each game, following up Tuesday's triumph over No. 5 Louisville with a 75-71 overtime victory over third-ranked Syracuse to hand the Orange their first conference loss of the season.
Ryan Arcidiacono drilled the tying 3-pointer in the waning seconds to send the contest to overtime for Villanova and James Bell hit a pair from beyond the arc in the extra period for the Wildcats (13-7, 4-3 Big East), who had lost three straight entering this week.
"What a week for us," said Villanova coach Jay Wright. "We played really well."
The Orange (18-2, 6-1) tried to nurse a six-point lead late in regulation, but failed to score after C.J. Fair's jumper with 3:36 to play made it 61-55. The Wildcats pulled within 61-58 with 1:06 left after a free throw by Mouphtaou Yarou and had a chance to tie after a Syracuse empty trip, but Arcidiacono misfired from beyond the arc with 19.9 seconds left. Michael Carter-Williams, though, missed the front end of a 1-and-1, giving Villanova another chance.
Bell missed from beyond the arc, but Yarou grabbed the offensive rebound and fired back out to Arcidiacono, who drilled an off-balance three with 2.2 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime as Carter-Williams' half-court heave came up empty.
"Mouphtaou was beast and got me the ball. I put it up and luckily it went in," said Arcidiacono about the shot at the end of regulation.
In overtime, Bell didn't miss. His first three gave Villanova a 66-64 lead and his second made it 69-65 with 1:55 remaining. Brandon Triche made two at the line to trim the deficit and had a chance to tie it from the stripe on the next Syracuse trip, but made only 1-of-2 with 47 seconds to play.
Bell then converted a layup and Syracuse was unable to answer. Carter-Williams made just one free throw with 21 seconds left and JayVaughn Pinkston left the Orange with one more chance after he missed the second of two from the line.
However, Triche tried to go for the quick two and missed a tough layup, allowing the Wildcats to finally seal it from the stripe. Villanova won despite making only 18-of-30 free throws.
"You could see why Syracuse could win the national championship," Wright added. "They keep coming. We had some big-time stops down the stretch. To beat a good team in this league, you have to play at a high level of consistency."
Bell finished with 13 points and Arcidiacono added 10 in the victory. Darrun Hilliard led Villanova with a career-high 25 points, while Yarou contributed 14 with 16 rebounds before fouling out late in the extra session.
Triche scored 23 for Syracuse, which had an eight-game winning streak stopped, while Carter-Williams chipped in 17. Jerami Grant finished with 12 points off the bench before fouling out in regulation.
"We missed a lot of shots around the basket," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, whose team shot just 33.3 percent. "You can't do that on the road."
Villanova scored the first 10 points of the contest before a Fair bucket spurred a run of seven straight Syracuse points, but the Wildcats again kicked it into gear and opened a 20-9 advantage midway through the opening half on a jumper by Yarou.
The lead reached as much as 12 points a couple of minutes later as a basket from Pinkston made it 25-13, but Syracuse answered with the next eight and pulled as close as 27-24 on a three by Triche with 1:22 to play in the half. Villanova followed with the next five before a layup by Triche sent the Orange to the break down 32-26.
Grant scored the first seven points of the second half and his three gave the Orange their first lead of the game, 33-32. Villanova scored the next five before Syracuse later reeled off seven straight for a 44-39 edge. The Wildcats followed with a 10-3 run for a 49-47 lead with just over eight minutes to play and the Orange later scored seven in a row for a 59-53 cushion with 4:25 left in regulation.
The teams split the season series, as Syracuse earned a 72-61 victory at the Carrier Dome just 14 days ago ... It was the last scheduled meeting as Big East rivals, with Syracuse set to join the ACC next season. The Orange lead the all-time series, 38-32 ... Baye Moussa Keita also fouled out for Syracuse ... Fair scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds in defeat ... Both of Syracuse's losses have come against Philadelphia-area teams, as the Orange dropped an 83-79 decision against Temple at Madison Square Garden in December.
01/26 20:38:41 ET