Syracuse 75, Villanova 64
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP)—Demetris Nichols scored 23 points, Terrence Roberts had 17 points and 14 rebounds, and Syracuse beat Villanova 75-64 on Saturday.
Villanova (11-5, 1-3 Big East) was coming off a 56-52 win Monday at Georgetown, the Wildcats’ sixth victory in seven road games this season. But in a game that featured the Big East’s top two scorers—Nichols and Villanova’s Curtis Sumpter—the Orange (14-4, 3-1) prevailed, winning their third straight conference game.
Nichols was 5-for-6 on 3-pointers and 8-for-12 from the field. Roberts, who missed 2 1/2 games last month with a sprained left knee, hadn’t scored in double figures in his previous five games and hadn’t registered more than eight rebounds in a game since Dec. 2 against Wichita State. Andy Rautins and Darryl Watkins each finished with 11 points.
Sumpter, who was in foul trouble against the Hoyas and scored only five points in 16 minutes, finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Mike Nardi had 17 points and Scottie Reynolds had 14 before fouling out with 2:06 left.
Villanova finished 8-for-28 on 3-pointers, 3-for-15 in the second half. Nardi, a 38 percent shooter from long range, and Reynolds each went 2-for-10 on 3-pointers.
Syracuse led 38-34 at halftime, and after Sumpter scored over Nichols to start the second half, the Orange responded with a 14-0 run to take charge.
Nichols hit a 3-pointer from the left corner and fed Roberts for a two-hand slam dunk to begin the decisive spurt. Rautins hit a 3 from the right corner and Roberts fed Watkins for a basket inside before following a missed 3 by Rautins with a thundering two-hand slam.
That gave Syracuse a 52-39 lead with 15:33 to go, and the Wildcats never moved closer than nine points the rest of the game.
Sumpter scored 11 points to lead the Wildcats to an eight-point lead in the first seven minutes of the game, hitting consecutive 3-pointers in a 29-second span to put Villanova up 18-11.
Five straight points from Roberts and a long 3-pointer from right wing by Nichols moved Syracuse within 21-20 with 8:23 left in the period. Then Nichols, who went over 1,000 points in his Syracuse career with a 3 early in the game, took over, scoring 10 straight points.
Nichols started his personal run with a pair of turnaround jumpers, the second falling away and over 6-foot-8 Dante Cunningham, and followed with a 3-pointer from right wing and another from the top of the key to give Syracuse a 32-25 lead with 3:52 left. He also helped hold Sumpter without a point over the final 13 minutes of the period.