The 12th ranked Syracuse Orange fell to the 22nd ranked Marquette Golden Eagles 74-71 Monday night at The Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
With Syracuse coming off of a 57-46 loss to the Georgetown Hoyas and Marquette rebounding from a 60-56 defeat at the hands of Villanova, the two teams each needed the victory to position themselves for the upcoming Big East Tournament in March. Going into last nights game, they were tied with #10 Louisville for second place in the conference.
It was a back and forth battle between the ranked teams, but Marquette and forward Davante Gardner were too much for Syracuse to handle. The Junior scored a career high 26 points off the bench to lead The Golden Eagles to victory. Marquette held a slight advantage in rebounds, but free throw attempts were ultimately the difference. Marquette went 29-35 from the line while Syracuse only made it to the charity stripe 7 times all night. Marquette moves to 20-7 overall and 11-4 in Big East Play. They return to action on Saturday when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish visit The Bradley Center.
Forwards C.J. Fair and James Southerland combined for thirty five points, but The Orange had no answer for Marquette. Syracuse has now dropped two strait games, and falls back into third place in the conference.
Games against two top ten teams in #10 Louisville and #7 Georgetown, and a contest with conference bottom feeder DePaul remain for the Orange. They will most likely need to win all three in order to hold the top seed in The Big East Conference Tournament.