Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Syracuse and Villanova Win Important Big East Matchups

Syracuse finally won a game, defeating UConn 66-58 in the XL Center, giving them a much needed win.  After losing four straight Big East games, Syracuse improved to 6-4 in the conference.  This is a huge win for the Orangemen, as there defense got back on track, limiting the Huskies to 58 points.  Kemba Walker had a terrible night, thanks in part to a great Syracuse zone, as he scored 8 points on 3-14 shooting.  Rick Jackson had yet another double-double for Syracuse, with 13 points and 13 rebounds.  Neither offense really got going, but Syracuse had just enough to keep them ahead of UConn throughout the game.

Villanova had a comfortable 8 to 12 point lead throughout much of the game, but Marquette made this a contest, cutting the lead to 3 points with under two minutes to play.  Good free throw shooting and a clutch Maalik Wayns layup helped Villanova hold on to the victory.  Center Chris Otule for Marquette was in foul trouble most of the game, but the offense was so much more efficient when he was in the game.  He created a ton of space for Jimmy Butler and Darius Johnson-Odom to drive into the lane.  For Villanova, Mouphtaou Yarou had 18 points, while Corey Fisher had 17 points.  Villanova really showed what they were best at tonight, by getting to the foul line.  They shot 29-33, good for an 88% percentage, compared to just 14 attempts for Marquette.

The Big East takes a little shuffle tonight, as UConn drops to 5-4, and Villanova moves into a tie with Louisville, Notre Dame, and West Virginia at 6-3.  Pitt still holds a two game advantage in the Big East, standing at 8-1.

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