MBB : Last time they played: Syracuse vs. Villanova

first_img Comments Andy Rautins said Syracuse had the best fan base in the country. Wes Johnson said the game would be ‘breathtaking.’‘It definitely doesn’t (get any better),’ the junior forward Johnson said.The game that Johnson was referring to: SU vs. Villanova. The No. 4 team in the country against the No. 7 team. In front of the largest-ever on-campus crowd in college basketball history.The Orange did not disappoint. In front of 34,616 fans at the Carrier Dome on Feb. 27, 2010, SU trounced Villanova, 95-77. The win set Syracuse on track for its eventual Big East regular-season title, not to mention the No. 1 ranking.In one of the most hyped and anticipated games in SU basketball history, the Orange made sure the record crowd went home happy.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLed by Rick Jackson’s 19 points, Syracuse overcame an early 23-14 deficit to take a 46-36 lead at the half. Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine came off the bench and helped spark the Orange to a 31-30 lead, one it would hold for the rest of the game.‘I thought Kris and Scoop were just huge,’ SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. ‘They got us back into the game. I’ve said all year long, those two guys are like starters, and they play just like starters.’The game was one of redemption for the Orange. It was picked sixth in the Big East preseason poll, while Villanova was the chosen one to win the conference.But SU’s domination ended all thoughts about who the better team was, as it completely dominated the Wildcats.‘I don’t think anybody had drawn out that this would happen,’ Johnson said. ‘I think we came in with a chip on our shoulder and tried to prove everybody wrong.’With a 27-2 overall record and a 14-2 mark in the Big East, the Orange showed little doubt about who the best team in the nation was. Of course, SU got a little help from the top three teams in the rankings also losing that weekend.And after the game, Syracuse’s players could sense the move to the top spot.‘I definitely agree (we should be No. 1),’ center Arinze Onuaku said, ‘but we’ve been a team that’s not worried about numbers all year.‘Our goal is to be No. 1 at the end of the year and at the end of the season. When it’s all said and done, we want to be No.1.’That goal never happened, as SU lost to Butler in the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.But that wasn’t even a thought last Feb. 27. For one night, all SU knew was that it was as close to the top of the college basketball world as it had been in a while.The Orange and its fans could rejoice in winning one of the biggest games in SU history.‘It’s great,’ Onuaku said. ‘It’s big for us and our program and big for our team and just big for Syracuse as a whole.’-Compiled by Rachel Marcus, asst. copy editor, rnmarcus@syr.edu Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on January 20, 2011 at 12:00 pmlast_img

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