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No. 1 Syracuse drops Villanova to stay perfect

Jan 12, 2012 - 6:21 AM Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Philadelphia native Dion Waiters had 20 points, James Southerland scored 15 and top-ranked Syracuse earned a 79-66 victory over Villanova at the Wells Fargo Center.

C.J. Fair contributed nine points and five rebounds for the Orange (18-0, 5-0 Big East), who are one win away from tying the best start in school history. The 1999-2000 team holds the record at 19-0.

Dominic Cheek, JayVaughn Pinkston and Mouphtaou Yarou scored 12 points apiece for Villanova (8-9, 1-4), which has dropped four of five.

Maalik Wayns, the Wildcats' leading scorer (17.4 ppg), missed all seven field goals and finished with just three points.

Villanova kept pace with Syracuse in the opening 10 minutes, as a Yarou free throw tied the game at 14-14. Southerland then drained a jumper to ignite a 20-2 run, one Baye Moussa Keita capped with a pair of free throws with 3:51 to play in the first half.

Scoop Jardine, another Philadelphia native, drained a running three-pointer at the buzzer to send Syracuse into the break with a 43-24 lead.

"We played so well in the first half," Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said "that we had a margin for error, basically."

The Orange led by 22 at 48-26 early in the second half, but their advantage was trimmed to 11 with just under 12 minutes left. Pinkston sank two foul shots to close the gap to 52-41.

Syracuse, though, responded by scoring the next nine points, and a Southerland jumper made it 69-48 with about 4 1/2 minutes remaining.

"We didn't quit, which is a positive," Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. "But as we've said before, if that's your positive, it's not a good sign."

Game Notes

The Orange shot 44 percent from the field, while holding the Wildcats to just 33 percent...Villanova played a No. 1 ranked team for the first time since knocking off Connecticut, 69-64, on February 13, 2006...Yarou had 12 rebounds.