Tyler Ennis Shines As Syracuse Tops Villanova

Rich Barnes – USA TODAY Sports

If not for Jabari Parker, there would be a pretty clear front-runner for the ACC Rookie of the Year, and he runs the point guard position for the undefeated Syracuse Orange. Tyler Ennis had another tremendous game as Syracuse overcame an 18 point deficit early to run away from No. 8 Villanova 78-62.

Ennis was quiet early, but started to take control as the Orange used a 20-0 run to overcome that early deficit, which was built by a Villanova team that couldn’t miss from long range early. Villanova hit their first four threes, and 5-of-6 to start the game, but fell in love with the long ball and was pretty dismal from there on out as the 2-3 zone lulled them into launching triple after triple. Over the final 30 minutes of action, the Wildcats were just 5-of-25 from deep.

But the story of the game was the exceptional play from the starting guards for Syracuse in Ennis and his shooting guard Trevor Cooney. Cooney was once again lights out from three point range, hitting five threes for the sixth time in the past eight games. Cooney finished with a team-high 21 points, hitting 5-of-8 threes and coming away with three steals.

Just as essential to the win over previously unbeaten Villanova was Ennis, who sliced through the Wildcat defense again and again, finishing tough reverse layups, pull up jumpers, and soft floaters, and hitting free throws when he drew fouls. He only had two assists, but also did not turn the ball over. That brings his season numbers to an absurd 13 turnovers in 12 games. That’s not just good for a freshman, that is almost unfathomable for anyone who plays as many minutes as Ennis, no matter his classification. For the season, he has 61 assists against to go along with those 13 turnovers.

Of course, the young backcourt duo, which was thought to be a potential weakness for the Orange coming into the season, wasn’t the only pair doing damage for Syracuse. C.J. Fair once against quietly got his 17 points and six rebounds, and Jerami Grant had 11 points and pulled down six rebounds. The downside for Syracuse is probably that, outside of those four players, the Orange got just nine points from the rest of the team.

However, Jim Boeheim doesn’t expect his other players to do much damage in the scoring column and will take points where he can get him. When Cooney is hitting his long range shots and Ennis is getting to the bucket at will, Syracuse is almost unbeatable.

Jeff is an ACC basketball writer on RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @jekelish and like him on Facebook.

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