Men's basketball | Villanova 75, Syracuse 71: Giant-killer Villanova does it again

By Dan Gelston
Associated Press  • 
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PHILADELPHIA — Syracuse might want to scrub Philadelphia teams from the schedule.

In December, a loss to Temple.

Yesterday, a loss to Villanova.

Even worse for the third-ranked Orange, it was seconds away from a ninth straight victory.

Ryan Arcidiacono spoiled those plans with a tying three-point basket with 2.2 seconds left in regulation, and James Bell made consecutive three-pointers in overtime to send Villanova to its second win over a top-five team this week, 75-71.

The Wildcats defeated No. 5 Louisville 73-64 on Tuesday and became the first unranked team to beat two top-five teams in the same season since Florida State in 2011-12, according to STATS LLC.

Brandon Triche led the Orange (18-2, 6-1 Big East) with 23 points. Michael Carter-Williams had 17.

“We couldn’t get going offensively for a long time,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said.

Villanova (13-7, 4-3) took advantage of Syracuse’s rough day from the field.

Arcidiacono’s three-point attempt to tie with about 25 seconds left in regulation was off the mark, but Carter-Williams missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and JayVaughn Pinkston rebounded for Villanova.

Bell missed a three, and Mouphtaou Yarou grabbed the offensive rebound. Syracuse decided not to foul, giving Yarou time to pass it out to Arcidiacono. He made a leaner from just beyond the three-point line to tie the score at 61, force overtime and send the crowd of 18,273 into a frenzy.

“I just put it up and luckily it went in,” Arcidiacono said. “I think we’re having fun.”

The Wildcats might not be ranked in next week’s Associated Press Top 25 poll, but they have worked their way into NCAA Tournament consideration.

“What a week for us,” coach Jay Wright said.

What an understatement.

With the Orange down two points in overtime, Triche made one free throw with 46.5 seconds left.

Bell followed with a layup for a 71-68 lead, and the Wildcats (13-7, 4-3) held on from the free-throw line.

Darrun Hilliard scored 25 points and had six assists and no turnovers in 38 minutes. Yarou had 14 points and 16 rebounds for the Wildcats, and Bell scored 13 points. The Wildcats committed only one turnover in the final 14 minutes.

Yes, this is the same team that lost consecutive games to Alabama, Columbia and La Salle in November. There’s no break on the schedule, either: Villanova plays on Wednesday at No. 24 Notre Dame.

“It takes time to build a team,” Wright said. “That’s what we’re doing here. We’re building a team.”

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