’Cats drop ugly game to Orange

How does a team shoot 32 percent from the field and 19 percent on 3-point attempts, have four of its top six scorers combine to shoot 9-for-43 from the field and 0-for-14 from 3-point range, and still have a chance to win against a Top 25 team?

That’s exactly what Jay Wright must be asking his squad after last night’s 69-64 loss to Syracuse at the Wells Fargo Center.

“Not a pretty game and we certainly haven’t been playing pretty basketball,” said Wright. “All we can ask of them is to give us a great effort and they did.”

Corey Stokes scored 24 points, including five treys, to keep the ’Cats in an ugly game. Down by three in the final seconds, the ’Cats had a chance to tie, but James Bell turned it over.

With the win, Syracuse (23-6 overall) improved to 10-6 in the Big East, while Villanova (21-7) fell 9-6 in the conference. Both teams are still in good shape for the NCAA tournament, but the loss could drop Nova out of the Top 25 next week.

For Villanova, it was a tough night up and down the roster. Corey Fisher shot 3-for-16 from the field (0-for-8 on 3-pointers). Maalik Wayns was 1-for-9 (0-for-3 from 3-point land). Dominic Cheek was 2-for-9 from the field and missed on three 3-point attempts. Antonio Pena was just 3-for-9 on field goal attempts. ’Nova sophomore Isaiah Armwood stepped up with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Philly natives Scoop Jardine (20 points) and Rick Jackson (18 points) led the way for the Orange.

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