Two days ago No. 12 Syracuse lost the longest home winning streak in the nation and first place in the Big East to No. 8 Georgetown , when Otto Porter almost outscored them by himself. Monday Syracuse lost second place in the Big East to No. 22 Marquette, when 290-pound Davante Gardner came off the bench to score 26 points despite taking only seven shots and extend Marquette’s home win streak to 24 games – 2nd best in the nation.
Nate Wolters and South Dakota has won 30 straight at home, the longest total since Syracuse lost Saturday.
CJ Fair scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds as Syracuse’s starters dominated Marquette’s to lead for most of the game.
Value Add says Gardner has been by far the best player on Marquette’s team. Despite not starting a single game, he ranks as the 46th best player in the country and eighth best in the Big East and no other Marquette player is in the top 200. Yet Saturday against Villanova coach Buzz Williams only played him for 11 minutes in a loss. Monday he played three times as long – 33 minutes.
Gardner actually started by missing his first free throw of the game after a Syracuse technical foul. Except for that one shot, Gardner made all 12 of his free throws and all seven of his shots from the floor, overpowering the longer but thinner Syracuse players to get to the rim and even netting an 18-footer. The win moved Marquette into second place in the Big East with only a home game left Saturday against Notre Dame as they try to catch Georgetown, with whom they split two games this season.
Gardner did get two key three-pointers to loosen up the defense.
Marquette has the fifth highest scoring bench in the country, and Gardner was not the only one producing Monday. Jamil Wilson scored 12 points off the bench.
After Syracuse controlled early, Jake Thomas scored his first points since early this season when he hit a three-pointer and was fouled, draining the free throw for the four point play to get Marquette back in the game 29-25 late in the first half. Thomas gave up a scholarship and starting position in 2011 to transfer to Marquette as a walk-on.
Todd Mayo, brother of Dallas Maverick’s star O.J. Mayo, hit his second of two 3-pointers with one second left on the shot clock and two defenders in perfect position to cut once large Syracuse lead to 55-54, and Gardner scored on the next trip to give Marquette the lead for good.
The Big East Standings are as follows:
Team, Conference Record, Overall Record
#8 Georgetown 11-3 21-4
#22 Marquette 11-4 20-7
#9 Louisville 10-4 22-5
#12 Syracuse 10-5 22-6
#20 Notre Dame 10-5 22-6
Connecticut 9-5 19-7
Pittsburgh 9-6 21-7
Villanova 9-6 18-10
St. John’s 8-7 16-11
Providence 7-8 15-12
Cincinnati 7-8 19-9
Rutgers 4-11 13-13
DePaul 2-12 11-16
Seton Hall 2-13 13-15
South Florida 1-13 10-16