Syracuse commits 27 total fouls, has 3 starters foul out in loss at Villanova

first_imgPHILADELPHIA – Jim Boeheim wasn’t about to let the elephant in the room define Syracuse’s 82-77 loss to No. 7 Villanova on Saturday.The Orange finished the game with 27 total fouls and three of its starters — Rakeem Christmas, Chris McCullough and Michael Gbinije — on the bench. Villanova totaled 17, and Wildcats starting forward Daniel Ochefu didn’t commit any in 25 minutes.Yet Boeheim, despite chatting with the referees throughout the afternoon, was quick to dismiss the foul discrepancy in his postgame press conference.“If they fouled they must have fouled them,” Boeheim said. “… I’m not talking about fouls.”SU’s foul total played a large part in the Wildcats win at the Wells Fargo Center, as Villanova went 26-of-32 from the line while Syracuse shot 13-for-18. It also led to the disqualification of all of the Orange’s starting forwards, which made it easier for forward JayVaughn Pinkston to collect a game-high 25 points to lead the Wildcats second-half comeback and exclamatory finish.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Honestly, the refs called a lot of fouls on us. Little touch fouls that wasn’t on us, really,” said freshman forward Chris McCullough, who fouled out in 25 minutes with just three points. “It really hurt because we need (Gbinije), (Christmas) and me in the game. That really hurt us.”Villanova head coach Jay Wright said that his team shot 14 more free throws than the visitors by continually pounding the ball inside. He thought the Wildcats got away from that approach in the first half, but went back to it when McCullough and Gbinije entered the second half with three fouls each.McCullough picked up his fourth foul 12 seconds into the half and Gbinije was tagged with his third four seconds later. Tyler Roberson checked into the game and the Orange was tentative defending the paint for the rest of the afternoon.“Second half we just said, ‘Hey, that’s how we gotta go, we gotta go inside and we gotta attack them,’” Wright said. “And we did, continuously.”With all three forwards out of the game in overtime, the Wildcats keyed its defensive efforts on guards Trevor Cooney and Kaleb Joseph and left Roberson, B.J. Johnson and Chinonso Obokoh in one-on-one matchups.That made the SU offense too predictable on one end and too small on the other, and Villanova clawed away with three parts of the Orange’s nucleus looking on.“A lot of people fouled out and they didn’t have that or foul trouble,” Roberson said. “It played a big factor in the game.” Comments Published on December 20, 2014 at 7:11 pm Contact Jesse: [email protected] | @dougherty_jesse Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more