SYRACUSE, N. Jamal Mashburn Jersey .Y. -- Jim Boeheim stared up in frustration at the Carrier Dome scoreboard, his No. 2 Orange in big trouble against eighth-ranked Villanova. The Wildcats had started Saturdays game by hitting four straight 3-pointers -- three swishes by James Bell and another by Darrun Hilliard -- and led 25-7 midway through the first half after a dunk by Josh Hart. Syracuse struggled to create open looks and went nearly 4 minutes without a basket as the Wildcats looked exactly like the team that had already beaten two ranked teams. "There was no indication we were going to get going," Boeheim said. If the Orange were frazzled by their largest deficit of the season, it never showed. They responded with a 20-0 run over the next 5 minutes to take their first lead and never trailed again, winning 78-62 in a game between two of nine unbeaten teams left in Division I. "They came out on fire. They kind of caught us off guard," said C.J. Fair, who had 17 points for the Orange despite constant double-teams. "We knew the kind of team they are. Its hard to have a defence for the type of offence they have for the first 5 or 10 minutes." Syracuse (12-0) tightened its defence and the Wildcats (11-1) missed seven shots, committed three fouls and were called for a travel before losing the ball out of bounds as the game began to slip away. Villanova trailed 34-30 at the half, not bad considering leading scorer JayVaughn Pinkston had only three points on 1-of-3 shooting, his only make coming on a desperation 3 at the shot-clock buzzer in the final minute. "They weathered the storm," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "We hit shots. When you hit shots like that, everything looks great, but you know youre not going to shoot that percentage for the entire game. They weathered it and kept coming back at us. We had the lead and then we got sloppy." Trevor Cooney led Syracuse with 21 points, Tyler Ennis had 20, and Jerami Grant 11. Bell finished with a career-high six 3-pointers and matched his career high with 25 points to lead Villanova before fouling out with 1:42 left. Hart had 10 points, the only other Villanova player in double figures. Pinkston, averaging 16.5 points, finished with three points, while Hilliard, averaging 14.4, had only five points on 1-of-7 shooting before fouling out in the final minute. Cooney had 11 points and Fair added six in the Oranges comeback spurt, which was capped by a driving layup by Ennis at 4:51. "It was a tough war to get back," said Cooney, who was 5 of 8 from long range. "Getting behind like that against a team like Villanova, its tough to come back. It shows a lot about us." Syracuse was the third unbeaten ranked team the Wildcats had faced this season. Villanova handed then-No. 2 Kansas its first loss of the season a month ago in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis and came back the next night and defeated No. 23 Iowa in overtime. "Syracuse has a really good team," Wright said. "They really played at a high level. This is a tough place to play. I sensed that when we came back from break we were just a little bit off. We were in such a groove. We got a little bit better yesterday. I was hoping. In hindsight, I would have practiced on Christmas night. We slipped. They did not." In the second half, Syracuse scored nine straight points early and the Wildcats committed four fouls in a 59-second span to fall farther behind. Cooneys 3 from the top of the key gave the Orange a 47-37 lead with 16:32 left and Fairs follow slam of a miss by Ennis kept the lead at 10. Nova took advantage of a flagrant foul whistled against Grant midway through the period as boos rained down from the Carrier Dome crowd of 28,135, the largest of the season. Bell sank the two free throws and Harts 3 from the left corner closed the gap to 54-49 with 9:25 to play. Villanova closed to 56-53 at 7:02 after Bell hit a 3 from the corner and Daniel Ochefus free throw, and wouldnt wilt. Another 3 from the corner by Bell moved the Wildcats within 64-59 with 3:25 left, but the Orange made 14 of 16 free throws to thwart any chance of a comeback. Syracuse finished 29 of 35 from the free throw line. "We stepped up big-time," Boeheim said. "This was the first adverse situation (this season) where we were really down a lot." Peja Stojakovic Jersey . Terrance Broadway threw for 227 yards and Hunter Stover kicked three field goals as the Ragin Cajuns won an unprecedented fourth straight New Orleans Bowl with a 16-3 triumph over Nevada. Derrick Favors Jersey . He learned about pressure and expectations at the 2010 Games in his hometown of Vancouver. His next mission is to build on that experience at his next Olympic appearance in Sochi, where he plans to ride the momentum from the teams strong start to the season.SUNRISE, Fla. -- A timely save by Alex Stalock helped turned the momentum to the Sharks favour. Joe Pavelski, Matt Nieto and Joe Thornton scored and Stalock made 24 saves for his first career shutout and the San Jose Sharks topped the Florida Panthers 3-0 on Thursday night. Leading 1-0, the Sharks scored two goals in the third period, the first one following a great save by Stalock. Scottie Upshall took a shot from in front but Stalock stuck his leg out to barely block it. The Sharks took the puck quickly back the other way and Tyler Kennedy took a shot from the right side of the crease. Tim Thomas stretched to block it, but Nieto was there to sweep in the rebound at 4:44. "I ended up getting there and sometimes that happens where you make a big save on one end and right away on the other you get a chance like that," Stalock said. "We capitalized and that was a big turning point." Upshall thought he had a great chance at a goal. "I pretty much had the whole net to shoot at and he got his leg on it," Upshall said. "It could have been a game-tying play. Unfortunately, it went the other way." Stalock recorded his first shutout in 14 NHL games. "A win is a win on the road, but the first shutout is pretty special, something to remember," Stalock said. Stalock played his 11th game of the season to give starting goalie Antti Niemi a rest and made the most of his opportunity. "The goaltender was fine. A big save at 1-0, then back the other way for 2. Well take it," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. Thomas made 36 saves for the Panthers. The Sharks, who defeated Washington 2-1 oon Tuesday, won consecutive road games for the first time since taking three straight Nov. Tyreke Evans Jersey. 12-15. They beat the Panthers for the first time in five games, dating to the 2008-09 season. The Sharks stretched their lead to 3-0 when Pavelski poked a rebound into the net at 11:46 of the third. Pavelski leads the Sharks with 22 goals and has 13 points in his past 13 games. San Jose took a 1-0 lead in the second on Thorntons breakaway goal. Thornton got a loose puck in the neutral zone, skated in on Thomas and put the puck over Thomass glove with 51 seconds left in the period. Thornton has 15 points in his past 13 games. "I dont know the last time I had a breakaway," Thornton said. "I wanted to float one in and see if I could catch him off guard and I did." Thomas stopped 21 shots in the first period, the most in a period against the Panthers since they allowed 21 against Ottawa on Dec. 3, also in the first period. "Obviously not happy that they were taking it to us pretty hard and they were the team that was ready to play and we werent," Thomas said. "Theyre a good team. They looked like a very good team against us tonight." The Sharks have been the best first-period team in the league with 52 goals, but Thomas was able to keep them out of the net. The Sharks had a 5-on-3 power play for 1:29 in the first, but the Panthers were able to kill off the penalty. The Panthers havent allowed a power-play goal in seven games. The Panthers are 0-for-25 on the power play over the past eight games. NOTES: Thornton leads the Sharks with 51 points. ... The Panthers havent played the Sharks since a 5-3 win on Dec. 3, 2011. ' ' '
Bell and another by Darrun Hilliard
Bell and another by Darrun Hilliard