A quick take on Syracuse’s 67-53 loss to Villanova on Tuesday evening in the Jimmy V Classic at famed Madison Square Garden:
WHAT HAPPENED: After Syracuse pulled to within 55-51 with 6:17 left, Villanova took control on a 6-0 run that pushed the Wildcats’ lead to 61-51 two minutes later. The run was a microcosm of Syracuse’s bugaboos for the night as Villanova scored on two straight possessions after corralling offensive rebounds, and a sloppy Joe Girard turnover led to a Jermaine Samuels dunk at the other end. Syracuse went into halftime up 29-26, but quickly lost the lead early in the second half, as the Wildcats came out of intermission on a 9-2 run.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse can point to two key areas as to why it lost: Rebounds and ball movement. Though Villanova shot just 32.1 percent from the field and 13-50 from 3-point land, they made up for it by pounding the glass. The Wildcats dominated SU on the boards 57-36, as no one outside of Cole Swider had more than four rebounds for the Orange. Particularly frustrating was the 27 offensive rebounds the Orange surrendered. SU also stagnated on offense, playing far too much isolation basketball. Though Joe Girard led SU with three assists, Buddy Boeheim was the only other player to record an assist, as the Orange finished with four total.
HERO: Jimmy Boeheim led the Orange with 21 pounds on 10-19 shooting from the field, though Syracuse could only muster 32 other points from its seven other players. Justin Moore led Villanova with 18 points, while Samuels finished with 13 points and nine rebounds.
ZERO: Buddy Boeheim picked a bad night to have his worst game of the season. SU’s leading scorer at 19.1 points per game coming into Tuesday scored just six points on 3-15 shooting and 0-5 from downtown. Cole Swider finished with a quiet 5 points against his old team, though he did add a career-high 12 rebounds.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse finishes its gaunlet of seven straight high-majors in the non-conference portion of its schedule when it travels to Washington, D.C. to face Georgetown on Saturday at noon at Capital One Arena. TV: Fox Sports.