Syraucse, NY (WIBX) - The return of Kris Joseph wasn't enough to lift No. 3 Syracuse over the 7th ranked Villanova Wildcats.  Joseph lead all scorers with 23 points, but the Cats were victorious 83-72.

 This makes back-to-back loses for the Orange, who fall to 18-2 and 5-2 in the Big East. Joseph missed the team's last game against No. 4 Pittsburgh, a 74-66 win for the Panthers.

Villanova lead by as many as 14 points in the first half. The closest Syracuse could come was 69-65 with 2:40 to play, but the Orange were outscored 14-7 from there.

Rick Jackson had 16 points to go along with 15 rebounds and three blocks. Brandon Triche added 14 points and four assists. Scoop Jardine struggled all afternoon shooting just 1-of-8 from the floor, including 0-of-3 from deep.

Maalik Wayns scoured 21 points. Seventeen came in the first half to help the Wildcats build a 40-29 lead at the break. Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes each had 16 for Nova.

As a team, Villanova had 8 first-half 3-pointers and finish will 11 for the game. Syracuse shot 10 for 26 from beyond the arc. Combined, Jardine and Dion Waiters made only 1 of their 10 3-point attempts.

Villanova improves to 17-2 and 5-1 in the Big East. Their next game will come on Wednesday in Providence.

Syracuse will host Seton Hall on Tuesday night.