No. 17 Villanova tops No. 20 Syracuse, 102-85

February 7, 2009 12:34:10 PM PST
Dante Cunningham matched a career high with 31 points and No. 17 Villanova rolled to its fifth straight win, 102-85 over No. 20 Syracuse on Saturday. The Wildcats (19-4, 7-3 Big East) got off to a sizzling start from the floor and led by 20 late in the first half. Paced by Cunningham and their two Coreys, the Wildcats reached their highest point total ever in a game against Syracuse and hit the 100-point mark for the second time this season.

The Orange (18-6, 6-5) went nearly 10 minutes without a field goal in the first half and committed 13 turnovers in the half that led to 21 Villanova points. The Orange hit some late 3s to try and make a game of it, only to be turned back by a Villanova team that scored the big buckets whenever it wanted.

Corey Stokes hit three 3s and scored 16 points for Villanova. Shane Clark had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Corey Fisher had 14, also with three 3s.

Cunningham previously scored 31 against Fordham and this was perhaps the best game of the senior's career. He started early, slipping underneath Arinze Onuaku for an easy basket during a 10-0 run that earned the Syracuse squad a sharp and lengthy glare from coach Jim Boeheim during a timeout.

Cunningham went 12-for-15 from the floor and 7-for-12 from the free-throw line. He also grabbed nine rebounds.

Reynolds and Fisher hit 3s for a 20-9 lead that sent the crowd of 20,390 into a frenzy. The Wildcats always pack the place at their off-campus NBA home and this was no exception. Former Orange QB - and Eagles star - Dononvan McNabb watched behind the scorer's table in a blue Syracuse jacket.

The Orange simply couldn't get anything going and lost for the fifth time in their last six games. Jonny Flynn scored 22 points and Eric Devendorf had 21.

Fisher made perhaps the play of the game when he made a crashing layup off a turnover and hit the free throw for a 40-23 lead.

Syracuse hit seven of its 3s in the second half and Devendorf made one that sliced the lead to 58-44. Cunningham answered with a basket and Scottie Reynolds, who scored 10 points, nailed a 3 and the Wildcats never let the Orange make another challenge.


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